Blogging from A to Z and a WINNER!

Blogging from A to Z

Last year I participated in this challenge, to post something for every letter of the alphabet in April, and had fun.  This year I decided to try it again but with a bit of a different spin.  I will still have regular posts (quizzes on Tuesdays, some book reviews, etc.) but I will also be sharing my favorites for each letter.

bookmovieauthoractorI know you will all will be on the edge of your seats waiting to see my picks 🙂  Maybe we’ll have some sort of vote at the end! It’s been a fun exercise for me and I’ve realized that you may want to change your name to something starting with X of you want more recognition!

I hope you’ll stick with me through April’s alphabet.

And now for the winner of Sarah Addison Allen’s latest, Lost Lake (chosen by my friend Henrietta)……..

Hannah! (Word Lily)

Thanks to all who entered.  Stay tuned. I have a few fun things to give away this month 🙂

March’s movies with $ for charity

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.  This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.

Add your 5 words (or less!) 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 the other reviews you can add to.  Anyone is welcome to join in at any time.

We’re at $18

Dallas Buyers Club poster.jpgDallas Buyers Club, 2013 (Cast-Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto. Jennifer Garner)      Grade A

Captivating and worthwhile HIV/AIDS story.  

Sad, Based on true story.  (Pat)

Updated Declasse Philadelphia is Outstanding.  (Jill)


Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Poster.jpgSeeking a Friend For the End of the World, 2012. (Cast-Steve Carrell, Kiera Knightley, Adam Brody)      Grade B

Last moment, who’s with you?


Lead characters Tris and Four stand above a futuristic Chicago.Divergent, 2014 (Cast-Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney)      Grade B-

 Decent Dystopia with good leads.

Hold on and be brave.  (Nise)

Hot Theo James with Shailene.  (Jill)


Identity Thief Poster.jpgIdentity Thief, 2013 (Cast-Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, Amanda Peet)     Grade-C

Lotsa goofy, not enough laughs.


I started using Letterboxd this year thanks to Sandy.  If you are interested in rating your movies and keeping tabs on your friends, check it out (sort of like Goodreads).  I’m stacybuckeye if you want to follow me and get a few more than 5 words about the movies I watched.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen w/ GIVEAWAY

Lost LakeLost Lake. Finished 3-19-14, rating 4.25/5, fiction, 294 pages. pub. 2014

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

from Goodreads

There are so many things to love about Allen’s writing.  She has a light, lyrical quality that encourages fast and happy reading.  And even though I always consider her books happy, she embraces difficult topics, like how to move on when who you love has died.  Her characters are always so true and somewhat quirky and the icing on the cake is the magic that movies the story along.  All of these make her books a delight to read.  This was no exception.

Kate, her lively daughter Devin, and her great-aunt Eby are great anchors to this story of never giving up.  Strong females at different stages in life but able to lean on each other as family.  Kate, once she had woken up from her year of grief, saw Devin’s spirit and let her be exactly who she wanted to be.  It was heartwarming.

Lost Lake made me wish it were a real place so I could make my reservations today.  I loved the idea of the whole town getting behind Eby so she doesn’t sell her property.  I loved each unique character’s back story. They were all engaging.  I loved the romance of Paris.  This is great Southern fiction with charm and the magic of childhood.

My only complaint is that  it needed to be longer.  It felt somewhat unfinished, or maybe just hurried.  Or maybe it’s just that I didn’t it to end because I have to wait so long for another one to be written!

There’s a Facebook Quiz to see which character you’d be and I got Kate- “Who you are now is not who you started out to be. Your life is a journey. You follow the signs. Even when you’re lost, you don’t lose faith that you will get to where you’re supposed to be eventually.”  If you take the quiz come back and tell me what character you got, I’d love to know!

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.

I ended up with two copies of this one so I’m giving one away.  Let me know you want it by leaving a comment and including your email address. And if you want to earn extra entries you can visit (or revisit) yesterday’s Lost quiz.  I’ll draw a winner Monday at noon.


Lost Quiz with Lost Lake giveaway! – CLOSED

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I ended up with 2 hardcover copies of the new Sarah Addison Allen book Lost Lake Lost Lake and was going to give one away. Well, now’s the time!  My review will post tomorrow and you can get entries for the giveaway both days.

No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Monday (3/31) to enter.  All extras can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

Fill in the titles.  Each GUESS will earn you one entry (and every Correct answer will get you 10 points for the big prize).


1. Lost in a Good Book (Fforde)

2. Paradise Lost (Milton)

3. The Lost Symbol (Brown)

4. The Book of Lost Things (Connolly)

5. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent (Alvarez)

6. Lost Memory of Skin (Banks)

7.  Lost Souls (Brite)

8. The Keeper of Lost Causes (Adler-Olsen)

9. Lost Boy Lost Girl (Straub)

10. The Lost City of Z (Grann)

Mailbox Monday – March 24

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

IMG_5755Only one book this week, but a good one!   This was a win from Luxury Reading.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne leaves her philandering husband in San Francisco and sets sail for Belgium to study art, with her three children and a nanny in tow. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her brood repair to a quiet artists’ colony in France where she can recuperate. There she meets Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who is instantly smitten with the earthy, independent and opinionated belle Americaine.

from Goodreads

So did anything fun arrive in your mailbox this week?

Book vs. Movie – One Shot/Jack Reacher

I am a Jack Reacher fan. I’ve just finished the 9th book in this long-running series and it happens to be the one on which they based the Jack Reacher movie.  I didn’t hate the movie like many did and I thought the book was good.  So how do the 2007 book and the 2012 movie compare?  Let’s take a look.

The Story/Plot    The story is sort of the same, a mass murderer who was easy to catch but proclaimed his innocence is facing a sure conviction.  Enter Jack Reacher, ex-military police, who comes to prove the murderer’s guilt only to change his mind.  Except for a few second-tier characters essentially missing from the movie and a switcheroo at the end, the stories are close.   Unfortunately, those secondary characters helped make the book better.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  This category is usually, at best, a tie. I mean the movie is almost always better since that’s what its purpose it, but in this case it’s not so easy.  Like many things in the movie, the sets were…underwhelming?  This is not a story based on a location (other than it being quintessential midwest) but it is based on action and they could have done so much more.  Since I listened to the audio of the book I was able to better visualize the scene (Sometimes when I’m reading a fast paced thriller I don’t take the time. Is that wrong?) and it was superior to what came across on-screen.  It can be different, but a movie should be able to win this one.  It didn’t.  And I’m not even talking about Tom Cruise trying to portray a 6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 3XLT coat wearing menace.  I’ll get to that next.    Thumbs Up- Book

Characters vs. Actors  Ok, let’s start with the obvious.   Sure, Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher but saying he is Reacher is a stretch.  Lee Child’s Reacher is supposed to be a menacing man who intimidates by size and attitude.  It’s a total package.  Yes, Cruise can command a room with his presence and he did an okay job with the attitude, but the whole package was missing something.  I am not slamming Cruise. I actually thought he did an okay job, but then again my expectations were low.  I didn’t like Rosamund Pike as the doe-eyed lawyer, but maybe it’s because they had to add the romantic element that wasn’t there in the book.  It felt forced.  I missed a few of the characters from the book, news anchor Ann  Yanni, private investigator Franklin and ex-lover Eileen Hutton, all added much needed depth to the story.  The movie was so focused on Reacher and Helen that it ignored the parts of the story that made it more believable.   Thumbs Up- Book

The Ending  The endings were a little different, not dramatic enough hate either one, but enough to notice.  This is when the extra characters in the  book made the end make more sense.  And the hostage used to lure Reacher in to the final shoot out was different and so much less melodramatic when Lee Child wrote it.  The movie felt expected, like I’d seen it on-screen before, so it wasn’t bad, just boring.  Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is…The Book!!

Now it’s your turn to vote!

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on: (We Have Always Lived in the Castle) (Good Morning, Midnight/ The Midnight Sky) (Before I Go To Sleep) (The Little Prince) (Charlie St. Cloud) (Far From the Madding Crowd(The Girl on the Train) (Tuck Everlasting)  (Northanger Abbey) (Me Before You) (And Then There Were None) (Still Alice) (The Blind Side) (The Fault in Our Stars) (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

One Shot by Lee Child

One Shot (Jack Reacher Series #9)One Shot. Finished audio 3-19-14, rating 4.25/5, thriller, pub. 2005

Book 9 of the Jack Reacher series (Killing Floor) (Die Trying) (Tripwire) (Running Blind) (Echo Burning) (Without Fail) (Persuader) (The Enemy)

Unabridged audio 12 hours.  Read by Dick Hill.

Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me. And sure enough, from the world he lives in–no phone, no address, no commitments-ex-military investigator Jack Reacher is coming.  Reacher’s arrival will change everything–about a case that isn’t what it seems, about lives tangled in baffling ways, about a killer who missed one shot-and by doing so give Jack Reacher one shot at the truth…. 
from Goodreads

Oh Reacher, you wily devil you.  Reacher, ex-military, loner with a taste for justice, is only found when he wants to be.  He heads to the midwest from Florida so that he can make sure that the soldier who escaped punishment in the service gets his just rewards as a mass murdering civilian.  Only Reacher is also being sought for murder and he has to keep moving to stay one step ahead of those who are trying to kill him.

I always enjoy reading about Reacher’s antics and seeing where he’ll end up, since the world is his home.  This is one of the more solid thrillers and a good standalone for non Reacher readers.  I can see why they chose this one to base the first movie on (come back Friday for my comparison of the two).  The cast is good, lots of moving targets and bad guys, solid police work and Reacher only gets one short roll in the hay so it doesn’t take over the story.

I checked this audio out of the library and it is read by Dick Hill, who has read all of Lee Child’s books I’ve listened to, and he has become Reacher for me.  He almost makes me want to listen to them all instead of reading!

I’m curious.  With a show of hands, who has read a Reacher book OR seen the movie?  

Sundays with Gage – Loving Elephant and Piggie

We’ve been enjoying some books from the Elephant & Piggie series by Mo Willems for the last several weeks.   The illustrations and stories are easy to understand and full of things to talk about.  They also lead to very simple activities that take little preparation.  I would recommend all four of the ones we’ve been reading.  They are especially good for beginning readers as the words are large, simple and repeated.  I’ll list them in the order that Gage likes them best.

Can I Play Too? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Can I Play Too?  Ages 3-5.  57 pages

Themes- Frienship, Making friends, Thinking outside the box for solutions, Inclusion

Snake wants to play catch with Gerald and Piggie and embarrassment, sadness, and determination come into play.

I hope I’m not spoiling anything here by saying that Piggie’s solution to the no hands problem was using the snake as the ball.  Jason and Gage used his blue snake to play catch.  There wasn’t a lot of catching , but he tried and he had fun throwing.

snake2   snake1

Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Should I Share My Ice Cream?   Ages 4-6.  64 pages

Themes- Friendship, Sharing, Doing the right thing.

Gerald buys an ice cream cone and before he eats it he wonders if he should share it with Piggie.  As he goes back and forth on whether to share, the cone melts. Piggie saves the day.

So, this activity took less than 5 minutes of preparation, just long enough to cut and tape together a “cone” for the (dirty) “ice cream”.  We were able to watch the melting process in action without the mess 🙂  It took over 3 hours to totally melt.

ice cream1   IMG_5665   IMG_5666

I'm a Frog! (Elephant and Piggie Series)I’m a Frog!  Ages 4-8.   64 pages

Themes- Pretend play

Piggie pretends to be a frog and Gerald doesn’t understand what’s going on until Piggie explains how he too can pretend to be something else.

The picture is terrible, but you get the idea. After reading the story we all took turns pretending to be other animals and then guessing what they were.  He’s mid-jump.


Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Pigs Make Me Sneeze!   Ages 3-5.  64 pages

Themes- Friendship, Getting sick

Gerald thinks he allergic to Piggie because he can’t stop sneezing around her and is relieved to know that he is only getting sick and they can still be friends.

No pics with this one because aside from pretending to sneeze and taking turns saying bless you we didn’t really do much.

I can’t wait to check out more of the Elephant & Piggie series!

Filmish Friday- Austen films

I love the romance and time period of Jane Austen’s novels.  I have 2 left to read (Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park) and am looking forward to finding time for both.  I think Austen has translated extremely well to screen and have enjoyed all of movies I’ve seen, even some of the ‘Austen-inspired’.

I’m curious to see what your favorite is, so I’ve created a little poll and we’ll see if we have a clear winner.  We can always run a tie-breaker if we need to.  If your favorite isn’t included, leave me a comment and I’ll add it.  I didn’t include any mini-series, sorry BBC.