Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Happy Easter Eggs :)

Yesterday we tried the extra cool Easter eggs we found on Pinterest here.  We only had the pictures for directions so here’s how we did it.

005Gage helped Grandma crack the hardboiled eggs.

007We added food coloring into the cracks and let them dry in the frig overnight.

010Then Gage helped peel of the shells (since he only did one and ran away I didn’t get a picture).  We skipped one step in the directions, rinsing off the shells, and wonder if it would have prevented the color from going all the way to the yolk.  Gage licked one and I ate the yellow one and it was delicious 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!

March 31, 2013 Posted by | Gage, Photos, Pinterest | , | 27 Comments

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen, I’m all caught up :(

The Peach KeeperThe Peach Keeper.Finished audio 3-25-13. 4 stars, pub. 2011

Unabridged audio 7 hours, 35 minutes. Read by Karen White who did an excellent job.

When I read Allen’s first novel, Garden Spells, I fell in love with this writer who embodies lightness and magical realism in such a beautiful way.  I love the southern charm and those moments of the supernatural in her books.  I always finish satisfied.  Once I got past that expectation I enjoyed the book for what it was, a great story of friendship among women, from one generation to the next.  Some of the whimsy was missing, but only missing because I expected it.

Wall of Water, North Carolina, is home to Willa, Paxton, and Sebastian.  Though none of them were friends in high school, Paxton and Sebastian are inseparable now.  Willa own her own store and lives a happy but quiet life.  When Paxton restores the Blue Ridge Madam, an old home important to Willa’s family, it brings a mystery that leads them both to their grandmothers, looking for answers.

I loved the friendship that forms between Willa and Paxton, much like the one their grandmothers shared many years ago.  By the end of the book I was ready to look up some of my friends from high school to see if we could be BFFs again.  I also loved how the story showed how much where and how we grow up influences who we are as adults, and not just in the obvious ways.  I moved away from home when I went to college and, except for a 5 month pit stop after I graduated, I’ve never moved back.  So, I understood when Paxton’s brother didn’t want to move back to Wall of Water, afraid he’d forever be labelled ‘Stick Man’.  And Paxton, who had never lived anywhere else, lived the opposite life, always struggling with the expectations placed on her.  There was was much to like about this story.

SAA delivers once again.  She can’t write fast enough for her fans 🙂

March 28, 2013 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 24 Comments

Eyes Wide Open by Andrew Gross

Eyes Wide OpenEyes Wide Open. Finished 3-21-13, rating 3/5, fiction, 340 pages, pub. 2011

Jay Erlich’s nephew has been found at the bottom of a cliff at Morrow Bay. It’s all just a tragic suicide, until secrets from the past begin to rear up again. Did a notorious killer, jailed for many decades, have his hand in this?

Years ago, Jay Erlich’s older brother, Charlie, a wayward child of the sixties, set out for California, where he fell under the sway of a charismatic but deeply disturbed cultlike figure. Tragedy ensued and lives were destroyed, but as the decades passed, Charlie married and raised a family and lived a quiet, secluded life under the radar. Yet the demons that nearly destroyed him never completely disappeared.

When Jay heads out west to help his grieving brother, he is pulled back into Charlie’s past–and begins to suspect that his nephew’s suicide may not have been that at all. With eyes wide open, Jay puts his own life at risk to uncover the truth, a quest that goes beyond the edge of madness and a family haunted by a secret past . . . and into the depths of evil.

from Goodreads

There was non-stop action and creepy characters, complicated sibling relationships and inequality in the way society deals with mental illness.  One of the main characters was even suffering with organ transplant issues.  I loved the exploration of Jay and Charlie’s relationship.  I thought it was spot on.  I was heartbroken, along with Charlie and his wife about the way that the cops and hospitals dealt with their troubled son.  This was a big storyline in the beginning and I wish Gross had followed up with it.

The story itself deals with a crime decades old and it was a little hard for me to get into even though it provided a Charles Manson like villain.  I thought the book was average.  It had high points and low points, but it was good enough for me to give this author another try someday.

I bought this book for my Nook.

March 27, 2013 Posted by | 3 Star Books | | 10 Comments

Spring Break Fever Quiz – guessing closed

I’m guessing I’m not the only one looking out my window at a yard full of snow.  In spring.  (sigh)  It’s Spring Break time around here and most of the kids I know head south and don’t stop till they hit a beach in Florida.  So, let’s head to Florida.

I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round (sometime in June).  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else :)   You have til Sunday to guess.

No Googling:)

1. Before Scout Finch there was Jody Baxter, the ten year-old hero of The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.

2. Duma Key by Stephen King

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3. ZNH’s eyes were watching from Florida.  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

4. What J MacD series is set in the Sunshine State?  Travis McGee

5. Demi Moore showed off her implants on the big screen in this tease of a movie based on Elmore’s novel.  Striptease

6. Which one of Grafton’s alphabet series was is set in Florida?  B is for Burglar

7. This tragic novel of two desperate souls looking for a better life in Florida was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986.  Continental Drift by Russell Banks

8. This colorful Oprah’s Book Club pick from Quindlen way back when takes place in Florida.  Black & Blue

9. In Florida this home is a tourist attraction.  Who lived here?  Ernest Hemingway

10. Can you recognize this Florida son by his signature?  Carl Hiaasen

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Last week’s Tall Guy Quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

March 26, 2013 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 15 Comments

Fave Movie #7 – There’s Something About Mary

1998

Cast-Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Chris Elliott, Lee Evans

Directed by the Farrelly brothers, Bobby & Peter

Mary was the It girl in her Rhode Island high school and geeky Ted was lucky enough to catch her eye when he stood up for her mentally disabled brother.  They made a date for prom that ended in a hospital stay and then Mary disappeared.  It’s 13 years later and he hires Healy to find her for him.  Mary is in Florida, but Healy decides to throw Ted off the scent by lying to him and then moving to Florida to pursue her himself.

Why I love it- I saw this at the theater when it came out and I was scandalized.  This raunchy, perfect-for-teen-boys humor was not my thing at all.  I remember feeling embarrassed at some of the crude things I laughed at.  It was not in my comfort zone, and yet at its heart it was a love story between two characters that I loved and was rooting for the whole way.  It made me laugh and it satisfied my goofy heart.

There is something about Ben Stiller that I find charming and usually funny.  He has this awkward, neurotic way about him that I always seem to respond to in a positive way.  He was perfect in this role.  I’m not sure how many actors could have pulled off the iconic zipper scene with such intensity.  Even as I was cringing I was laughing out loud.  For me, the Farrelly brothers almost always go too far, but in this movie, it is Ben Stiller and the luminous Cameron Diaz that  keep the movie centered.

The two scenes with the dog, Puffy, being abused by Mary’s boyfriends are so outrageous that they are only funny because Puffy somehow manages to live another day.  And I love the reveal at the end.  It makes the movie end on a fun note for me.  I’ve seen this movie countless times and it always makes me laugh.

As of this year this is the 5th highest grossing romantic comedy of all-time and Cameron Diaz was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Mary. Irreverent, tasteless, and very funny.

The rest of my Top 100 List.

March 22, 2013 Posted by | movies | | 19 Comments

You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, breaking my ban on short stories

You Know When the Men Are GoneYou Know When the Men Are Gone. Finished 3-19-13, rating 4.5/5, fiction short stories, 226 pages, pub. 2011

I read this because it was on JoAnn’s year end favorite list in December and I had it on my shelf.  I don’t often read short stories, so how this one ended up in my library is a mystery, but I’m so glad that it did and even happier that JoAnn loved and recommended it.  This may mean more short story collections in my future.

The stories-

1.You Know When the Men Are Gone, a married woman who is awaiting the homecoming of her husband feels drawn to life of her neighbor and children. My least favorite.

2. Camp Liberty, probably my favorite, the story of a deployed soldier who has a hard time reconciling life back home with the one he is living in Iraq.

3. Remission, a mom’s two kids go missing on base.

4. Inside the Break, a wife discovers her husband’s infidelity while he’s deployed.

5. The Last Stand, this one is a heartbreaker. A soldier returns home after being wounded in Iraq and spending months recovering at Walter Reed.

6. Leave, creepy story of a soldier sneaking home on leave to see if his wife is cheating.

7. You Survived the War, Now Survive the Homecoming, a new mom dealing with her husband’s ager after returning home.

8. Gold Star, a widower’s life on base after her husband is killed.

These stories are a gritty look, at the reality of what most of us will never have to face.  Although I finished this book with a heavy heart  I thought it was a book full if incredible insight.  I gained a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices of the enlisted men and their families.  Fallon speaks from experience and her concise writing engaged me.  Surprsingly, I loved this one.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 28 Comments

March Madness Tall Guy Quiz – guessing closed

So, it’s March Madness, brackets are being filled out, money is exchanging hands, too many hours will be spent listening to the ‘experts’.  And I love every minute of it!  Jason and I have our standing bet -winner picks the next FIVE theater movies-and the pressure is on since I’ve lost two years in a row 😦  If you have any inside information for my bracket I’ll throw in a few extra points this week.  Anyway, on to the quiz.  I thought we’d form our own 10 man team of tall guys.  Yes, I realize that Clive at 81 will probably be a bench warmer, but he IS tall.  See if you can list these authors from shortest to tallest.  Some share the same height so you have extra chances to get that right 😉

 I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round (sometime in June).  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else :)   You have til Sunday to guess.

The tall guys– Clive Cussler, Lee Child, Stephen King, John Green, John Grisham, Harlan Coben, Steve Martin, Brad Parks, John Sandford, Sherman Alexie

List them from SHORTEST to TALLEST (I’ll help by listing the heights. I know, I know, this week is a guessfest!) Good Luck!

6′ 0″  Steve Martin

6′ 0″  John Green

6′ 1″  Brad Parks (won the Lefty Award for best humorous mystery of the year this past weekend)

6′ 1″  John Grisham

6′ 2″  John Sandford

6′ 2″  Sherman Alexie

6′ 3′  Clive Cussler

6′ 4″  Stephen King

6′ 4″  Lee Child

6′ 4″  Harlan Coben

Answers to last week’s Patrick Quiz here. Leaderboard here.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | Quizzes | | 21 Comments

Saturday Snapshot – 17 years ago

To participate in Saturday Snapshot: post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.  Visit At Home with Books to participate.

Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of our first date.  On our first date Jason picked me up after I got home from work at 9:30 and took me to an improv comedy club and afterwards we went to a diner for some food.  Tomorrow will be the 17th anniversary of our second date, a dinner after I got off work.  In between those dates I had a date with some other guy, but the poor thing never had a chance after I met Jason.  Here are a few pictures from that first year together.  We look like such kids! I was 24 and Jason was 19 and we were living in the Washington DC area.

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March 16, 2013 Posted by | Photos | 51 Comments

Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Stay CloseStay Close. Finished 3-9-13, rating 4/5, fiction, 387 pages, pub. 2012

Megan, aka Cassie, has a past.  One that involved showing off her lady parts for all the world to see at a club on Atlantic City’s boardwalk.  But she manages to put that all behind her and get married, move to the burbs, pop out a few kids and enjoy life as a soccer mom.  Only after 17 years she feels the draw of her old haunt and this action sets off a chain of events that put her and many others in danger.  Detective Broome is working a disappearance, one that seems to connect many disappearances from the past.  When Megan shows up it’s the break he had hoped for and needed, but it will not be enough to stop a murder or two.

I love Harlan Coben.  He is one author I always buy in hardcover.  When I realized that his new book was coming out and that I still had last year’s hardcover on my shelf it was an easy reading decision.  Coben is the master of wit, humor and staying current.  His is a voice that I recognize as soon as I open the book.  Unfortunately, for me, his voice was the one thing missing from this book.  I enjoyed the plot and liked the many, connecting storylines and characters, but I felt like any good thriller writer could have written it.  It is a readable thriller, but it is not even close to being his best.  I’ve heard great things about his newest one so, as I always do, I’ll buy it in hardcover and hope for the best 🙂

March 14, 2013 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 33 Comments

It’s a Patrick Quiz – guessing closed

I thought this week we’d see if you can match these recognizable Patrick’s with something they said.

I hope that you’ll try your hand at my (mostly) bookish quizzes every week, but it’s okay if you just want to play when the quiz interests you.  If you play you are eligible for a prize at the end of the round (sometime in June).  For all of the details, click here.  Submit your answers in the comment section – I will stop by and hide them throughout the week but try not to copy off anyone else :)   You have til Sunday to guess.

Choices-Patrick Ness (author of Chaos Walking trilogy), Patrick Henry (politician, attorney), Saint Patrick,  Patrick O’Brian (author of Aubrey/Maturin naval adventure novels), Danica Patrick (racecar driver), Patrick Swayze (actor), Patrick Dempsey (actor), Patrick Buchanan (moral authority), Patrick Duffy (actor), Patrick Stewart (actor)

1. “I found that dance was key to keeping depression out of my life. When you dance, things just go away, things don’t seem so bad. There’s no better way to take care of health than through something as joyous and beautiful as dance.” Patrick Swayze

2. “I would normally say ‘no’ to turning someone else’s idea into a book, but the idea was so strong and so vivid that I never felt like I was completely fabricating something she didn’t want.  There was just enough material to kick me off, and have the freedom to let the story live and breathe while also celebrating her idea.”  Patrick Ness

3. “I look forward to a time when my career is in a place where I can get out of Los Angeles and find a nice small town like I grew up in to raise my family.”  Patrick Dempsey

4. “I know not what others may choose, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”  Patrick Henry

5. “I wouldn’t know a space-time continuum or warp core breach if they got into bed with me”  Patrick Stewart

6. “Obviously, I have lived very much out of the world: I know little of present-day Dublin or London or Paris, even less of post-modernity, post-structuralism, hard rock or rap, and I cannot write with much conviction about the contemporary scene.”  Patrick O’Brian

7. I know what it takes to be fast and I feel like every year I learn valuable lessons about how to be better the next time.”  Danica Patrick

8. “I go to my sons for everything, and they’ll tell me…many times, I’ll say, ‘I don’t think this is very good,’ and they say, ‘No, you have to do this.’ Or I’ll come to them and say, ‘This sounds pretty good. What do you think?’ And they say, ‘Are you out of your mind?’ So I go to them with everything. They’re my touchstones to the 21st century.”  Patrick Duffy

9. “Peoples of European descent are not only in a relative but a real decline. They are aging, dying, disappearing. This is the existential crisis of the West.”  Patrick Buchanan

10. “I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.”  Saint Patrick

Answers to last week’s Women History Quiz here.  Rules and Leaderboard here.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 19 Comments