Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Z is for Gabrielle Zevin Zeroes Zafon Zahn

The Storied Life of A. J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Finished 4-26-14.  Rating 4.5/5, 260 pages, pub. 2014

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island-from Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.      from Goodreads

I spent a few years working in bookstores and loved the experience and, most importantly, the people I worked with.  Book people are the best kind of people, diverse in all ways but their love for the written word.  So, it is no surprise that I loved this book about small town bookstore owner, A.J. Fikry.  When we first meet him he is a depressed man with no interest in being otherwise, until a surprise gift is left in his bookstore.  His life changes overnight and so does he.  He is a transplant to the small town of Alice and had never truly been embraced, but the bookstore itself becomes a community of the best kind and A.J. is swept into the this giving world when he needs it the most.

Lovers of books and small towns will surely love this breezy book, but anyone who appreciates a look into the mind of a life turned around by love will probably like it too.  I think this would make a great tv show. I would love to hang out with these characters once a week to get my literary fix.  Loved every page!

I received this book from She Reads.  Go on over and see what other bloggers think about this one.  HURRY and you can enter to win a free copy!  

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Blogging from A to Z

authorCarlos Ruiz Zafon

I’ve only read The Shadow of the Wind, but I loved it.

movieZero Dark Thirty, 2012

Surprisingly good, with a great female lead.

actorSteven Zahn

Never a lead, but always solid (Reality Bites & You’ve Got Mail being favorites)

bookThe Zero Game by Brad Meltzer

I listened to this one on a road trip when it came out and liked it well enough.  And it starts with Z and that means my A to Z April challenge is officially over.  And just in time because I’m exhausted 🙂

 

April 30, 2014 Posted by | 5 Star Books, Blogging from A-Z | | 11 Comments

Y is for You Young Yankee Yann

Blogging from A to Z

bookYou Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

Roosevelt wrote this book only a few years before she died and in it she chronicles what the many years of her life taught her.  She covers a variety of topics: learning, fear, using your time, maturity, readjustments, usefulness, individuality, getting the best out of people, responsibility, politics participation, and being a public servant.  This book holds up remarkably well and many of the affairs of the world are eerily relevant today.

Eleanor was born to privilege and the book makes that evident.  Some of the advice, while coming from a good place, seems somewhat elitist.  On the other hand, she is a woman who has seen the people of the world at their best and worst and has come away with a passion for life and making the world a better place.  Her antidotes about some of the important men of the day, her lunch with Calvin Coolidge and conversation with Mr. Krushchev are two that come to mind, make the book that much more interesting.  I found the book enlightening, inspiring, and educational.

movieYankee Doodle Dandy, 1942

A biopic film of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer and singer George M. Cohan, from his start in his family’s vaudeville act to his success on Broadway.  A true American success story.

The choreography and music of the stage shows is based on the original Cohan productions and are showstoppers.  It feels like getting a behind the scenes looks at a way of life few get to experience and knowing Cohan was a real person makes it all that more enjoyable.

The music and story will make you feel proud to be an American without that theme seeming heavy-handed or political.  This is the story of America before and during the two World Wars and patriotism is inherent to the time.

 actorBurt Young?

I liked him in the Rocky movies and his name does start with Y.  That’s all I got.

authorYann Martel?

I’ve only read Life of Pi, but Y is a hard letter for names!

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 4 Comments

X is for Trixie Deveraux’s X-Men & a record!

Thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog yesterday and read my 24 Hour Read-a-Thon posts.  You made it my busiest day ever  in my 6+ years of blogging with 735 visitors 🙂

Blogging from A to Z

movieX-Men, 2000

Fun, fun , fun.  And it introduced us to Wolverine.  Great cast and not quite your typical superhero movie.  Thumbs up!

bookthe TriXie Belden series

I loved this series as a  kid.  I see that they reissued it in 2003 and it makes me want to go back and read about 13-year-old Trixie, who I always liked better than Nancy Drew 🙂

authorJude DeverauX

I read so many of her historical romances growing up (A Knight in Shining Armor showing up on this list already) and based on that, feel good about listing her as a favorite.  I prefer her older titles to the few recent books of hers I’ve read.

actor

Try as I might I just can’t seem to think of an actor or actress who I feel comfortable listing as a favorite.  I could’ve used Joaquin Phoenix  but I already used him for J.  Is there any actor with an x in their name who you would consider a favorite?  Am I missing someone?

 

April 28, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 12 Comments

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon Wrap Up Post

deweys-readathonbuttonAnother Read-a-Thon is in the books!

I’m always amazed at how many people enjoy my mini-challenges and am thankful.  It makes me want to be even more creative next time.  This year 79 people stopped by and left comments – holy smokes!

Thank you to the fearless leaders who make this event the very best twice a year, Heather and Andi!!!   You guys rock!  Ieven won a prize this year, woo hoo 🙂

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  Hour 22, so at 5:30 am I called it a day.  I read for 21.5 hours.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? LOVED The Storied Life of A.J Fikry.  GReat for book lovers, easy to read and not long.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  I’ll leave that to better minds than me.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  Everything workd great from my end.
  5. How many books did you read?  2 halves and 3 full books.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, Traveling Light for Mothers by Max Lucado, Paper Towns by John Green, and half of The Cliff House Strangler by Shirley Tallman.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  I loved all my books this time around, but probably The Firebird and The Storied Life were my faves.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  Liked them all 🙂
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Another fun read-a-thon.  I tried a more relaxed approach this time around, welcoming interruptions from my three-year old and not obsessing over how much I got read.  I wanted to make it the whole 24 hours, but to be honest, I didn’t want to ruin THIS day with my son too by being too grouchy 🙂  I’ll be back.

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 9 Comments

Winners and an Update

deweys-readathonbuttonI’ve got two winners from my TBR Mini-Challenge…

There were 837 books in the picture and, amazingly, Malin guessed 838!  She wins #15 from the Book Depository.

And I randomly chose a number for the winner of a book from my TBR pile and the winner is Elle!  She chose P.S, I Love You.

Thank you all for playing!

I’m feeling pretty good at hour 21. I might actually make it!

I haven’t finished a book since the midway point, but I’m almost at the end of Paper Towns by John Green and I’m halfway through The Cliff House Strangler by Shirley Tallman.  I was able to listen to Paper Towns as I monitored the mini-challenge, so that was good 🙂

I don’t have any good snacks left 😦

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 2 Comments

101, 102, 103…Mini-Challenge, Hours 18-21

Are you still with us?  We’re well past the midway point and if your eyes are still focusing I’ve got a fun challenge.  Every year, since I started blogging way back in 2008, I post a look at my TBR pile (all the books I own and haven’t read) and I thought I’d give you all a sneak peek.  Feast your eyes on Mt. TBR!

bookwall2014

Scary, right?  I’ll be writing a post breaking down the numbers in the next few weeks, but wanted to give you all a chance to see it first.  There are so many ways to win a prize…

#1Guess the total number of books in the picture.  I don’t care if you are under or over, the closest guess wins. (if there’s a tie, first guesser wins) – $15 at the Book Depository

#2See a title you’d like you have in your TBR pile?  Tell me which one.  I’ll draw a random winner at 4 EST and I’ll send it to you.

Now for the Where’s Waldo aspect of the challenge.  I chose 8 books, one bag, and a puzzle to give away, but you’ve got to earn it.  I’ll show you what I’m offering up and when you find it in the photo, it’s yours.  One book per person, please.  Get your eyes ready!

The photo quality was not as great as I’d hoped it would be so I’m giving you some help by showing the sides. These books WILL NOT be in the boxes at the bottom.  Just tell me if it’s on the top or bottom, what row and how many books down.  First one to get it right will win the book and I’ll take it off the list.

#3– Find The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice and you will win the cool bag  (not the book).

#4– Find one of the two Jane Austen books and win the cool 500 piece Austen puzzle.

#5 & #6– I found duplicates of both Labor Day by Joyce Maynard and She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb.  Find the book and win it, the trick is that these covers may not match what you see in the picture 😉

bag austenduplicates

Just tell me where you find them to win.

#7Winter’s Child by Margaret Maron,  #8-100 Tiny Tales of Terror,  #9The 70 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time, #10The Twelve by Justin Cronin,  #11Schism:The Battle for Darracia by Michael Phillip Cash,   #12-The Summer Nights Never End…Until They Do by Robert James Waller

6 books

Any Questions? Ask and I’ll answer here.  Open Internationally.

April 27, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 120 Comments

Read-a-Thon Name in Titles Challenge

IMG_6222Shantaram, To Kill a Mockingbird, American Pastoral, Clockers, You Know When the Men Are Gone.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 2 Comments

Read-a-Thon midway point survey

deweys-readathonbutton12 Hours in!

Mid-Event Survey
1. What are you reading right now? The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
2. How many books have you read so far? This is my third
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  More reading, a walk, maybe taking 2 hours to watch the film of Beloved to rest my eyes a bit.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?  Hubby and my mom are here entertaining the little man.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  Lots of little interruptions. Just took 15 minutes to put Gage to bed.  It’s all good 🙂
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  I’m not reading very fast!
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Not yet 🙂
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Too early to tell.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Not quite yet, but I did have half a glass of wine with dinner 🙂
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?  Read good books!

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 12 Comments

Read-a-Thon Shelfie & First Edition Challenges

deweys-readathonbuttonFor this challenge we are supposed to take a picture of our shelves.  During my hour 18 mini-challenge you will see my books so I don’t want to spoil the surprise, BUT I will share a shelfie of the books I put aside to read from today.  See any you love?

IMG_6220

 

Since this is an ARC I don’t know if the same rules apply.  Is it truly a first edition you think?

IMG_6221

 

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Read-a-Thon Hour 8 Update

deweys-readathonbuttonSince my last update

Reading – Finished 2 books so far, The Firebird by Suasanna Kearsley and Traveling Light for Mothers by Max Lucado.  Choosing my next book as soon as I post this.

Time Spent Reading – Took breaks to make lunch for my kid and to prep for the hot tub.  Other than that, reading.

Mini-Challenges – I tried my hand at 2, Bookish Brews and The Best of Your Reading Year

Snacks– Had creamy orzo with corn and greens for lunch and am have been munching on this

IMG_6219

Where – I did make a trip to the hot tub with my book.  Bliss.

April 26, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | 6 Comments