May’s 5 word movie review – with $ for charity

You know the drill, add your 5 words to mine 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 to see the other reviews you can add to.  You guys are over halfway there with $55 so far.

Touch of Evil film poster.jpgTouch of Evil, 1958 (Cast-Orson Welles, Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh)      Grade B

More than a touch, definitely.

Charlton and Orson: Monster Rockage!  (Scott)

Heston competes admirably with Welles.  (Tony)

Iron Man 3 theatrical poster.jpgIron Man 3, 2013 (Cast Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pierce, Ben Kingsley)   Grade B

More Robert Downey Jr. fun.

Number 3 and going strong.  (Sheree)

Pepper gets some needed action!  (Heather)

Favorite of the 3 – Pepper!  (Kay)

The Mandarin is a rip-off.  (Tony)

Marathon man.jpgMarathon Man, 1976 (Cast-Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, Roy Schneider  Grade B

Odd. Strange. Hoffman sold it.

The poster shows a flaming starship falling towards Earth, with smoke coming out. At the middle of the poster shows the title "Star Trek Into Darkness" in dark grey letters, while the production credits and the release date being at the bottom of the poster.Star Trek Into the Darkness, 2013 (Chris Oine, Zachary Quinto , Zoe Saldana)    Grade B

Too much bromance. Still fun.

Bromances. Those are my faves :)  (Heather)

 Trekkie fans will love it.  (Sheree)

Will always be Trekkie, forever.  (Kay)

His name is Khan, okay?  (Tony)

A Blue Spix's Macaw wearing a yellow scarf is surrounded by other birds and animals from the film. They sit on a sandy beach with beachgoing tourists in the background, facing away. The weather is mostly sunny, with one cloud in the sky. The text reads "From the creators of Ice Age: RIO"Rio, 2011 (Cast-Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway)   Grade C+

Gorgeous birds, but boring story.

 The Angry Birds Rio…Better :)   (Heather)

Three men wearing suits and sunglasses, one carrying a sledgehammer over his shoulderThe Hangover 3, 2013 (Cast-Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong)    Grade C-

Well, Bradley is always yummy.

 3 is one too many.  (Sheree)

Olympus Has Fallen poster.jpgOlympus Has Fallen, 2013 (Cast-Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman)    Grade D

 A bloody waste of time.

 Great cast couldn’t save it.  (Sheree)

 “Will anyone come out alive?”  (Nise)

The Corpse Reader by Antonio Garrido

The Corpse ReaderThe Corpse Reader. Finished 5-28-13, rating 4.75/5, historical fiction, 494 pages, pub. 2011 (Spain) 2013 (US)

After his grandfather dies, avid scholar and budding forensic investigator Cí Song begrudgingly gives up his studies to help his family. But when another tragedy strikes, he’s forced to run and also deemed a fugitive. Dishonored, he has no choice but to accept work as a lowly gravedigger, a position that allows him to sharpen his corpse-reading skills. Soon, he can deduce whether a person killed himself—or was murdered.
His prowess earns him notoriety, and Cí receives orders to unearth the perpetrator of a horrific series of mutilations and deaths at the Imperial Court. Cí’s gruesome investigation quickly grows complicated thanks to old loyalties and the presence of an alluring, enigmatic woman. But he remains driven by his passion for truth—especially once the killings threaten to take down the Emperor himself.

Inspired by Song Cí, considered to be the founding father of CSI-style forensic science, this harrowing novel set during the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty draws readers into a multilayered, ingenious plot as disturbing as it is fascinating.  -from Goodreads

In 2012 this book received the Zaragoza International Prize for best historical novel published in Spain.  When I was offered the book from Wunderkind PR, I resisted at first.  I love books and shows about forensic science but am not much of a historical fiction reader.  And 13th century China is not a period I’m very familiar with.  So, it is with great surprise that I can tell you that I loved this book.

In some ways Ci’s life story arc reminded me just a little bit of Lin from Shantaram.  Yes, a different country and centuries apart, but in both there is this feeling that things cannot possible get any worse…until they do.  That book too was loosely based on real life.  Ci Song is based on the first forensic scientist, the one who literally wrote the books on the field.  Since there are only about 5 paragraphs to be found about the man, Aontonio Garrido had license to make a great story.  And he did.

This book was full of Chinese tradition, heartache, death, friendship, loss, opportunity, I feel like I could go on for quite a while so I’ll resort to the cliché that it had it all.  Not only was this about Ci having to rely on his wits and smarts to stay alive there is also a great mystery that gets him into the Imperial Palace.  I learned about the culture and found myself scratching my head often wondering if I would have gone mad with some of the customs back then.  Probably.

I thoroughly enjoyed this saga and found myself reading when I should have been sleeping and that is high praise from this sleep deprived mama.  The only thing keeping it from a 5 is that the translation felt very current.  It did not feel like I was reading a book set in the 13th century, immensely readable but not really true to the period of the book.  Common phrases did take me out of China and into today but I didn’t hold that against the story since I assume that much of that came from the translation.  That may bother some of you more than me.

It was just released here this week and I recommend you take a look.

Shape Quiz – guessing closed

 I hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend.  We stayed busy here, but I managed a few minutes to come up with a fun quiz for you all.  Just fill in the blanks of these titles with a shape.  Each shape is only used once.  You’ll get more points if you can tell me the author too.  Good luck!

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 need to know all the answers, one guess and you’ll be eligible for a prize. 

No Googling:)

1. Washington Square by Henry James

2. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

3. The Fourth Side of the Triangle by Ellery Queen

4. Star Island by Carl Hiassen

5. Crescent Dawn by Clive Cussler

6. Murder at the Pentagon by Margaret Truman

7. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

8. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

9. I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

10. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Answers to Children’s Book Week Quiz here.   Leaderboard here.

AFI’s Top 100 Movies

Way back when, let’s say 1998, AFI (American Film Institute) put out a list of the best 100 movies of the last 100 years.  Jason and I worked our way through the list and ranked them to our own liking.  The original list is here.  Here’s how our top rankings came out…(notice how mine trended toward the romantic, well, except for that really bloody one)

AFI                                     Stacy                                Jason

1.Citizen Kane                 It’s a Wonderful Life      It’s a Wonderful Life

2.Casablanca                   Platoon                             Forest Gump

3.The Godfather             Gone with the Wind       Platoon

4.Gone with the Wind   The Philadelphia Story  Casablanca

5.Lawrence of Arabia    The Sound of Music        The Best Years of Our Lives

It’s thanks to working our way through the list (even rewatching ones we’d seen) that I discovered some old gems that I wouldn’t have discovered before, like Yankee Doodle Dandy that I posted about a few weeks ago.  So, if you are looking to broaden your horizons or want to do something fun with your mate or friend I recommend trying it.  We had a lot of fun discussing the movie and then arguing over where each of us ranked it on our list, there were quite a few that we did not see eye to eye on (King Kong I’m looking at you).

They put out a new best 100 movies list in 2008 and added 23 new films.  We’ve seen 11 of them already, so we decided to start working our way through a new list and we chose AFI’s 100 Cheers (America’s Most Inspiring Movies).  We’ll only watch them if one of us has not seen it so I don’t know how many that will be yet.  Here’s the link to their movies lists if you want to take the plunge.

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman, no sophomore slump here

Looking for MeLooking for Me. Finished 5-19-13, rating 4.5/5, 354 pages, ON SALE MAY 28, 2013

I was a little hesitant when author Beth Hoffman offered to send me her new book.  I loved her first, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, so much and I’ve also grown to be a fan of Beth Hoffman the person, so I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t like it, if I would be disappointed.  I needn’t have worried since Teddi, while not quite as endearing to me as Cee Cee, is great heroine.

Teddi grew up on a Kentucky farm with her parents, brother, and grandmother.  She was close to her loving father and her nature loving brother, but her relationship with her mother was prickly on a good day.  Especially after Teddi takes off after graduation and her brother goes missing.  Teddi makes a life in Charleston restoring furniture, but she is always drawn home where her brother’s disappearance still haunts her.

Teddi was refreshing.  She knew what she wanted to do from a young age and went after it, and in the process found a new family for herself.  I loved the fact that she was so determined in her goal to own an antique shop and she wasn’t distracted.  She was a successful woman who didn’t lament the lack of a man in her life, instead she lamented the fact that she was so happy without one.  Like most women, the relationship with her mother was a central to her life, and wanting to make her proud was something Teddi was hoping for. That storyline was such a strong one for me and I was rooting for Teddi and her mother.  As for her brother, he was an odd duck and I had a hard time loving him as much as Teddi, but he had a sweet relationship with his sister.

Beth Hoffman knows how to make me feel the southern atmosphere which is no small feat since she grew up not far from where I am in northeast Ohio.  I am especially grateful for her Buckeye roots since that means she always makes a stop here and I will get to see her on June 1st.  I had such a blast meeting her on the last book tour with fellow blogger Bonnie.  Beth is such a warm soul and I think this book showcases that.

Are you looking for a quiz?

If your answer was yes you will have to come back next week.  Due to the heat, my allergies, Gage’s allergies, this silly goose computer and the fact that Gage was up til 2 am puking his sad little guts out, I just cannot do it.  I do have a fun one planned for next week (I still need a few more questions or I’d post it today).

Looking for MeOh, I did finish Beth Hoffman’s newest yesterday and really liked it.  Hope I can get the review up tomorrow.

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

A Kiss at MidnightA Kiss at Midnight. Finished 5-4-13, rating 4.25/5, romance, 370 pages, pub. 2010

Kate is 24 and lives at home with her stepmother and stepsister.  Forced to attend a ball acting as her sister, Kate meets Prince Gabriel and the expected sparks fly.  Only Kate is pretending to be betrothed to his cousin and he is expecting the arrival of his future princess.  What will happen?  I’ll never tell 😉

This is the retelling of Cinderella, but aside from the evil stepmother and Kate wearing glass shoes one night I didn’t really see it.  The beginning with Kate’s stepmother seemed so separate from the rest of the book.  I liked Kate and Gabriel, enjoyed their interaction and really did feel their connection.  I felt it so much that the dueling storylines of what was keeping them apart seemed thin, like there should have been more.

That being said I enjoyed this lighthearted romp and liked the many characters at the palace for the ball.  Gabriel had a kind heart and was one hot prince!  Kate was a smart enough heroine, the men seemed to respond to her wit which I liked.  Overall I had fun with this one.

This was from my personal library.

Children’s Book Week Quiz – guessing closed

alt textWhen I saw over at Jill’s (Rhapsody in Books) that it was Children’s Book Week I knew there would be a quiz 🙂  Let’s see if you can tell me the titles of these well-loved kids books.

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 need to know all the answers, one guess and you’ll be eligible for a prize. 

IMG_1502IMG_1503 - Copy

1.Harry the Dirty Dog 2.Corduroy 3.The Story of Babar the Little Elephant 4.Where the Wild Things Are 5.The Very Hungary Caterpillar 6.Harold & the Purple Crayon 7.Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 8.Blueberries for Sal 9.Make Way for Ducklings 10.The Little Engine That Could

(and I apologize that I still have not really figured out my new computer so there is no photo editing ;))

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

Being a mom on Mother’s Day

It ‘s almost hard to remember what my expectations were before becoming a mom.  I vaguely remember thinking that I knew it would be hard, but that I was obviously stronger than the normal woman and would handle it with ease.  I also remember that when I occasionally envisioned my small one that I pictured all of the sedate activities that I enjoyed, coloring, reading, games- you know, things that require  staying in one place for a period of time.  Oh, the joy of pregnancy, when all of these things were still possibilities 😉

I am not a baby person.  Before I was pregnant I often joked that if I could pop out a 4-year-old we would have had six kids.  In this, my expectations panned out.  I think that first year was just to test my toughness.  My toughness is still tested every day, but that first year was something I don’t think I could handle again and get my sanity back when it was over.  Even during these terrible twos, Gage makes me smile and laugh in amazement at his intelligence and personality.  Life as a mother gets better every day and I am so blessed.

I am not the mother I thought I would be, but I am the mother Gage has got and I am trying to be the best one I can.  He inspires me to be better.

Happy Mother’s Day, ladies.  I finally feel like I’m enjoying motherhood enough to appreciate the day 🙂  It’s easy when I have this face to kiss every morning…

IMG_1368IMG_1295IMG_1322IMG_1423IMG_1327These were all taken the last week.  Can you believe how big he’s getting?

Age Game Quiz – guessing closed

I did this one a few years ago and thought we’d try it with some new authors and even some categories!  Just tell me who you think is youngest, if there’s more than two then list them in order from youngest to oldest.  I was surprised at the age of some!

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 need to know all the answers, one guess and you’ll be eligible for a prize. 

No Googling:)

List from Youngest to Oldest

The 20 somethings

1. Veronica Roth 24, Christopher Paolini 29

The 30 somethings

2. Maggie Stiefvater 31, John Green 35, Stephenie Meyer 39

The 40 somethings

3.  Sophie Kinsella 43, Nicholas Sparks 47, Michael Chabon 49

The 50 somethings

4. Suzanne Collins 50, E.L. James 50, Meg Wolitzer 53

The 60 somethings

5. Charlaine Harris 61,Debbie Macomber 64, George R..R. Martin 64

The 70 somethings

6. Janet Evanovich 70, Sue Grafton 73, Stuart Woods 75

The 80 somethings

7. Fern Michaels 80, John le Carre 81, Clive Cussler 81

The college fraternity brothers

8. Dan Brown 48, Harlen Coben 51

Those amusing non-fiction (sometimes) authors

9. Mary Roach 54, David Sedaris 56, Anna Quindlen 60

Not every author is from America

10. Jo Nesbo 53, Hilary Mantel 60, Jeffrey Archer 73

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