Read-a-Thon Best of My Reading Year Mini-Challenge

I’ve read 23 books so far this year so it’s a small pool.

Best Non-Fiction Book of Your Reading Year – A Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Best Romance Book of Your Reading Year – The Firebird by Susannah Kearsley (just finished it a few minutes ago!)

Best Fiction Book of Your Reading Year – The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

Best Mystery Book of Your Reading Year – The Doll by Taylor Stevens

Lost LakeBest Cover of Your Reading Year

24 Hour Read-a-Thon, Hour 3 Update

deweys-readathonbuttonSo we’re just over 3 hours in and I’m having a great time.

Reading– The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley.  I started it on my Nook ages ago and have failed to finish because I don’t read on my Nook very often.  Most of you say you read faster on e-readers but it’s the opposite for me, so it’s slow (but very enjoyable) going.

Time spent reading– I did one load of laundry and made toast, other than that I’ve been reading or…

Mini-Challenges– I’ve participated in all 4 so far.  It’s some of my favorite time during the Read-a-Thon.  I particularly liked the Jigsaw Puzzle Cover Challenge and hope to steal the idea for a quiz of my own soon.

Snacks– Coffee, toast and popcorn so far.

Where- On the couch in the front room.  Thinking about some hot tub reading soon!

Back to The Firebird!


Deweys 24 Hour Read-a-Thon starts now!

deweys-readathonbuttonHi! Welcome to Stacy’s Books!  I hope to participate for the whole 24 hours.   Here’s the cheat sheet for the day…

1.  I’m joining in the fun from the Cleveland, Ohio area (there are beautiful areas here so don’t believe all the jokes!)

2. I am looking forward the all the books in my pile today, but probably The Firebird by Kearsley and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Zevin the most.

3. There’s a mini peanut butter pie calling my name in the frig!

4. Last night, on one of our weekly date nights, my husband and I ended up at the grocery store and Old Navy.  Yes, I felt incredibly old and boring.

5. The last read-a-thon I made the mistake of choosing the shortest books from my TBR piles even if I didn’t really want to read them so I burned out on not so good books fast.  This time I’ve chosen ones I’m excited about reading.  This is my 4th read-a-thon and I think I’ve made it the whole 24 hours twice.  That’s not bad.


W is for When Winslet Wares Watership

Blogging from A to Z

actorKate Winslet

There are some actresses that come across so true and gutsy on-screen as well as in real life and Winslet is one of the few for me. I love watching her in the movies, but more than that she is someone who I’d love to hang out with.  Loved her most in The Reader, Revolutionary Road, The Holiday, Finding Neverland.  Of course, Titanic is what put her on the map and she was flawless there too 🙂  What’s your favorite Winslet movie?

movieWhen Harry Met Sally

Can a man and woman ever truly be friends or will the sex thing always get in the way?  When recent college graduates drive from Chicago to New York together they despise each other.  When they meet a few years later they are both in happy relationships.  Fast forward a few more years and they run into each other again, both in need of a friend.  They become close and appreciate the friendship and avoid ruining it with sex, mostly.

Why I love it- I thought Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan had such great chemistry and the dialogue was spot on, only more funny.  I liked seeing them get over their initial judgements of each other and see each other as friends.  And it really did make me laugh out loud.  A lot.  The days of the week underpants, Surry with a Fringe on top, and the wagon wheel coffee table are a few that come to mind.

One of my top ten all time faves.

bookWatership Down by Richard Adams

I am not a huge fan of fiction books from the perspective of animals, but this one, well this one proved that I could love the right one.  Oh, these rabbits stole my heart.  On a journey from their home to find a new warren, adventure and heartache and everything in between befall these rabbits.  Even of the bunny on the cover scares you off, I think you need to read a few chapters and see.  A true classic.

authorCiji Ware

In 2002 I won this book from Writerspace and once I read it, went on to read the other four she had written at the time.  Loved them all.  Not sure why I haven’t read her latest two releases.  I need to get on that!



V is for Viggo Verdon’s Violet Vendetta

Blogging from A to Z

actorViggo Mortenson

The man has charisma.  And acting chops.  And good looks.  And he doesn’t choose boring parts. Before Lord Of the Rings he was in another favorite movie of mine, A Walk on the Moon


I love all three leads in this movie.  And then came Lord of the Rings and it was all over for me.  I swooned.  His roles in the grim A History of Violence and Eastern Promises were outstanding too.

bookViolets of March by Sarah Jio

Emily, author of one bestselling novel years ago, has just signed her divorce papers.  Not able to write and not sure what to do about it her best friend convinces her that a change of scenery will help, so Emily contacts her Aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island, Washington.  Once she’s back on the island where she spent the wonderful summers of her youth, she finds a hidden journal written by the mysterious Esther, and Emily wonders if she is somehow connected to her family.  Totally immersed in Esther’s story and frustrated by her aunt’s refusal to talk about family secrets, Emily found the perfect way to forget about her divorce and the muse to start writing again.

The story in the journal parallels current day Bainbridge Island and as Emily pieced together who was who I tried to keep up.  I admit I had some ideas, but did get a bit confused by the large cast.  I didn’t really care though, I was just happy to be along for the ride.  One of these days I hope I find my way to Bainbridge Island.  The place felt magical.

I loved this book.  The writing was beautiful, there was such depth and beauty on every page.  The awesome writing coupled with the two addicting storylines make this one easy to recommend.

authorJohn Verdon

I’ve read all three of his Dave Gurney thrillers and loved them all. (Think of a Number, Shut Your Eyes Tight, Let the Devil Sleep)  His next one comes out in July so there’s still time to jump on the bandwagon!

movieV is For Vendetta, 2005

Dystopia, anarchy, and creepy masks…what more could you want?

U is for Uncommon Uma Under Unger

Blogging from A to Z

movieUnder the Tuscan Sun, 2003

Frances finds out her husband is cheating and to cheer her up her two friends offer her a 10 day vacation in Tuscany traveling with a gay bus tour.  Frances goes and falls in love with the house Bramosole which she impulsively buys and plans to restore, leaving her life in San Fransisco behind.  She throws herself into the renovation, making friends as a way to heal her broken heart.

Why I love it – This is a story one woman’s heartbreak and the strength that led her to healing.  I love Diane Lane, she can do little wrong in my eyes and this is one of my favorites.  She shows Frances’s emotions in a way that we can all recognize.  She was mad, hurt, sad, funny, endearing, and full of life.

Who hasn’t imagined (even just for a second) leaving everything behind to start over somewhere new?  And what better place to do this but in Italy?  I love the boldness of her decision, egged on by the exuberant Catherine who encouraged her growth at every turn.  It was the eagerness to live the life she always imagined that had me rooting for her happy ending.

bookThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Queen is out with her dogs one day when she discovers the bookmobile parked by the palace.  So begins her discovery of the joys of reading for pleasure.  Always one to take her duties seriously, reading somehow begins to creep into her schedule, making her mundane duties most unpleasant since she must leave her book behind.  And as the staff becomes more put-off by the reading, the Queen takes a hard look at her obsession.  She is a doer, and ultimately, a choice must be made.

This delightful story enticed me with its lightness, but captured me with its unabashed love of reading books.  As the Queen notes, reading is a generally solitary pursuit and many of her thoughts on this stuck with me, especially as I was passing out books to strangers for World Book Night.  Thankfully, we can and do find ways to connect through reading.  This will make you take a look at your own reading life, and most likely, you’ll identify with the Queen’s discovery of the new worlds books open and her eagerness to share what she’s read.  I don’t think the general public is as unread as this author seems to think, but maybe they are and I just don’t want to see it.

authorLisa Unger

I’ve only read three of Unger’s twelve books and especially enjoyed the two Ridley Jones books (Beautiful Lies & Sliver of Truth).

actorUma Thurman

I like her in the few movies I’ve seen her in (Kill Bill, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Dangerous Liaisons) and her name starts with U 🙂

T is for There’s To Toms Thoreau with Taylor

The Doll (Vanessa Michael Munroe Series #3)The Doll by Taylor Stevens. Finished 4-15-14, pub. 2013

Unabridged audio read by Hillary Huber.  14 hours.

I read the first two books in this series and really liked them both, and chose to listen to this one on audio and may have liked it even better that way!

Vanessa Michael Munroe is a tough woman in a man’s world.  She makes her living finding information and selling it to businessmen who need it to make a deal.  She speaks over 20 languages which serves her well since she spends most of her time overseas, blending in with the natives wherever she goes, even passing as a man is if serves her well.  If she doesn’t find trouble first, trouble finds her.  She is enjoying some resemblance of a normal life in Dallas when she is drugged and taken to another country and thrown into the web of human trafficking.

Perfect for international thriller fans and those who like kick butt females.   This was my favorite of the series so far, but do think that if you want to read these books they are best read in order (The Informationist) (The Innocent).

Blogging from A to Z

movieThere’s Something About Mary, 1998

One of my ten ten favorite movies.  This raunchy, perfect-for-teen-boys humor is not my thing at all.  I remember feeling embarrassed at some of the crude things I laughed at when I saw it at the theater.  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.

bookTo Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was reading this classic southern novel when we rescued a kitten and she promptly received the name Scout.  It’s a shame this was Harper Lee’s only book.

authorHenry David Thoreau

Transcendentalist writer, who was introduced to the movement by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Emerson is even the one who loaned Thoreau Walden Pond, for his two-year experiement.  Open your mind and delve in!

actorTIE! Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise

Tom Hanks is the more likeable author, but when I look at a list of both of the Toms movies I find that it’s Cruise that has been in more of my favorite movies (Collateral, A Few Good Men, Rain Man) and his role as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder stole the show.


S is for Signed Books Quiz – guessing closed

I’ve done this before, but last week I was able to meet two new-to-me authors at a Library Week event and I wanted to feature them in some way.  I’ve given you a small stack of my signed books and you just have to tell me which book belongs to which author.  There are a few extras in the stack just to make it more interesting.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  You have til Sunday to enter.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section.  

You only need to guess one to be eligible for a prize.


1.Christina Bartolomeo (Cupid & Diana)   2.Daniel Levin (The Last Ember)    3.Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Match Me If You Can)   4.Harlan Coben (Promise Me)   5.Taylor Stevens (The Doll)   6.Tomi Akinyanmi (A Worthy Legacy)   7.Sophie Jordan (Foreplay)   8.Leah Stewart (Husband and Wife)   9. Les Roberts (Pepper Pike)   10.Jay Crownover (Rome)

S is for Shreve’s Still Secret Sparrow Sound

Blogging from A to Z

movieThe Sound of Music, 1965

Most of the songs that I sang to Gage when he was a babe were from this movie.  During college I watch this movie to help me fall asleep (yes, I know, weird).  It remains one of my all-time faves and such a comfort movie.  I did not like what they did to it when they translated it to tv last December.

bookTIE! The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell AND The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Sparrow is a must read! This book is not only highly entertaining, but also very thought provoking. What would your reaction be if you learned that NASA had just discovered music being sung from a planet four light years away from earth? Would it shake your belief in God or make it stronger? What if you were chosen with six others to travel to this planet, knowing that by the time you returned back (if you did) those important to you would probably be dead? What if you were the only one from the mission who made it back to earth alive?  Russell blows me away with her first novel.

The Secret Life of Bees, it’s 1964 in South Carolina and Lily is a fourteen year old living with her abusive dad and the knowledge that she killed her mother.  All she has of her mother is a photo and a picture of a black Mary with the words Tiburon, South Carolina written on the back.  When she chooses to spring her nanny, Rosaleen, from jail they hitchhike to Tiburon so Lily can find the memory of her mother.  What she finds are three African-American beekeepers that live in a pink house.  The three sisters take  in Lily and Rosaleen.  Not a faulty note in this southern novel.

authorAnita Shreve

I first read The Pilot’s Wife and loved the complexity of it.  I’ve read three more and really liked each of them.

actorBen Stiller

Can you believe I’ve seen 25 Ben Stiller movies?  I can’t!  Some people don’t think he’s funny, but I love him and he makes me laugh every time.  My favorites are  There’s Something About Mary and Meet the Parents, but Gage loves the Madagascar movies so I get to hear him as Alex the lion quite often.

R is for Red Roberts Rocks Reeves

The Cleveland Local (Milan Jacovich Series #8)The Cleveland Local by Les Roberts. Finished 4-20-14, rating 4.25/5, mystery, pub. 1997

Milan Jacovich series #8

I love this old school mystery series set in Cleveland and this was one of my favorites.  Milan is a 43-year-old divorced dad who often finds trouble when his private investigator gig lands him in hot water.   This time that hot water will take him to the resort at San Carlos in the Caribbean.  The murder trail is cold and the Cleveland man was far from home so Milan rattles a few cages and almost gets himself killed.

I liked the relationship aspect of this one.  Milan is developing a great relationship with his oldest son and his long-time friendship with Marko, of the police department, is full of affection.  The two bachelors even consider trying to find a special someone again.

Any fan of hard broiled, private investigator mysteries will like this great, well-written series.  For me, Cleveland was the draw, but it’s the characters that keep me reading.


Blogging from A to Z

authorLes Roberts

Les Roberts is a Cleveland transplant (like me) but is now a favorite son (me, not so much).  I’ve met and heard him speak three times, plus one time on a panel at Bouchercon, and he has one of the best voices I’ve heard.  Not only does he represent Cleveland in a very real way he also is active for local charities, using character names to raise money at silent auctions. One day, maybe you’ll see my name in print!  I’ll keep you posted 🙂  Here’s the last time I met Les (comes with a bonus pic of baby Gage).

actorKeanu Reeves

As far as I can tell, I have seen Keanu in 27 movies.    I don’t know if he would make any best actor list, but since I love to watch him onscreen he makes me favorite list every time.  He’s come a long way since Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures (loved it).

movieRocky series

I really hate boxing. I don’t understand just standing there beating each other up for money.  That probably just makes me a wimp 🙂  So, imagine my surprise that I love the Rocky series (well, they could have skipped 5).  Any other fans out there?

bookRed Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

I read this one right after college and remember loving it and how it defined the Civil War in all of its ugliness.