May’s movies

Please tell me if you saw anything worth seeing this month!

Another month and another chance to contribute money to charity.  Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine in a comment 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 $.

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.

The Nice Guys poster.pngThe Nice Guys, 2016 (Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice,Margaret Qualley, Matt Bomer, Keith David, Kim Basinger)   Grade B+

The trailer captures the vibe 🙂


Minions poster.jpgMinions, 2015 (Voices-Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Alison Janney)  Grade B

Villain lovers save the day.



Official poster shows the Avengers team factions which led by Iron Man and Captain America, confronting each other by looking each other, with the film's slogan above them, and the film's title, credits, and release date below them.Captain Ameica:Civil War, 2016 (Chris Evans, Rober Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremey Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd)        Grade B

No shortage of fighting superheroes.


June Movie Watch-a-thon Choices

Okay, movie peeps, let’s vote on something we’d all like to watch in the theaters in June.  I’ll post my thoughts at the beginning of the month with some discussion questions. When you write your post I’ll figure out how to use Mr. Linky (seriously, someone may have to walk me through that) so we can share. I have a few ideas on how to keep the conversation going that I’ll address in that first post, but for now we need to vote on a movie.

I hope that you’ll vote for the movie that you are most likely to watch and write a post on, but I understand that life happens and I don’t want there to be (too much) pressure.  For this first month, let’s keep it bookish.  Next month I’ll have new and old movie options 🙂

Me Before You (based on bestselling book by Jojo Moyes)

Me Before You PosterYoung and quirky Louisa “Lou” Clark (Emilia Clarke) moves from one job to the next to help her family make ends meet. Her cheerful attitude is put to the test when she becomes a caregiver for Will Traynor (Sam Claflin), a wealthy young banker left paralyzed from an accident two years earlier. Will’s cynical outlook starts to change when Louisa shows him that life is worth living. As their bond deepens, their lives and hearts change in ways neither one could have imagined.

Cast: Emilia Clarke,Sam Claflin,Janet McTeer,Charles Dance,Matthew Lewis,Stephen Peacocke,Jenna Coleman,Brendan Coyle


Genius PosterRenowned editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) develops a friendship with author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law) while working on the writer’s manuscripts.

Cast: Colin Firth,Jude Law,Nicole Kidman,Laura Linney,Guy Pearce,Dominic West,Vanessa Kirby,

Septembers of Shiraz (based on a novel by Dalia Sofer)

Septembers of Shiraz PosterAfter creating a prosperous life in Iran, a Jewish family may be forced to abandon everything as a revolution looms on the horizon.

Cast: Adrien Brody,Salma Hayek-Pinault,Shohreh Aghdashloo,Ariana Molkara,Alon Aboutboul,Anthony Azizi,Navid Navid,Armin Amiri



How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

Title: How To Be Happy, Author: Eleanor DavisHow To Be Happy. Finished 4-23-16, rating 2.5/5, graphic novel, 145 pages, pub. 2014

Eleanor Davis’s How to be Happy is the artist’s first collection of graphic/literary short stories. Davis is one of the finest cartoonists of her generation, and has been producing comics since the mid-2000s. Happy represents the best stories she’s drawn for such curatorial venues as Mome and No-Brow, as well as her own self-publishing and web efforts. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis’s graphic skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen and ink line work, and meticulously designed full color painted panels– which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax.

from Goodreads

I am not a graphic novel fan, but I tried this during the readathon and it was a nice change of pace. I really enjoyed the illustrations in this short story collection, but didn’t quite get the point of all of the stories.  Davis tells you right from the beginning that this book has nothing to do with ‘how to be happy’ but I wish the stories had leaned a little more in that direction.  But, again, not a regular graphic novel reader, so I could be way off in my assessment.


It’s Nathional Readathon Day and I spent 3 hours at a book sale


It’s National Readathon Day but I couldn’t resist the call of the Case Western Reserve University book sale.  I go every year and browse the 70,000+ books and other cool things like games, music, dvds, stuffed animals…Take a look around.

IMG_7426IMG_7419IMG_7417IMG_7429I had so much fun.  Sometimes I go with a friend but, honestly, it’s way better to go by myself for a  few hours and not have to worry about hurrying.  This is a common sight on the first day of the sale as people come in and have to wheel their goodies away…booksale

I managed to really restrain myself, only buying five fiction books for myself, lots of train books for Gage, some postcards for my Postcrossing habit, and some planet stickers.  The fun wasn’t even about what I brought home (although that’s nice) it was really just about losing myself in books for a few hours.  Isn’t that how everyone should spend National Readathon Day?IMG_7430

Jane Quiz – guessing closed

I finished Eligible, a modern Pride & Prejudice, a few days ago for book club tonight.  It took me a little time to come up with an Austen quiz I haven’t done before.  I’m giving you the ages that we first met these Austen characters.  Just tell who the characters are!

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

Leave your guesses as a comment. Good luck!!

First column are the girls, the second the boys/men. Such a difference in ages!

Your choices-Emma Woodhouse & George Knightley (Emma), Fanny Price & Edmund Bertram (MP), Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood & Colonel Brandon (S&S), Catherine Morland & Henry Tilney (NA), Elizabeth Bennett & Fitzwilliam Darcy (P&P), Anne Elliot (Persuasion)

10-Fanny Price     16-Edmund Bertram

16-Marianne Dashwood     26-Henry Tilney

17-Catherine Morland     28-Fitzwilliam Darcy

19-Elinor Dashwood     35-Colonel Brandon

20-Elizabeth Bennett     37-George Knightley

20-Emma Woodhouse

27-Anne Elliot

Last week’s Lisa quiz here.

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

Title: The 9th Girl (Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska Series #4), Author: Tami HoagThe 9th Girl. Finished 4-25-16, 4/5 stars, mystery, pub. 2013

Unabridged audio read by David Colacci. 13 hours, 20 minutes

#4 in the Kovac & Liska series

On a frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis a young woman’s brutalized body falls from the trunk of a car into the path of oncoming traffic. Questions as to whether she was alive or dead when she hit the icy pavement result in her macabre nickname, Zombie Doe. Unidentified and unidentifiable, she is the ninth nameless female victim of the year, and homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska are charged with the task of not only finding out who Zombie Doe is, but who in her life hated her enough to destroy her. Was it personal, or could it just have been a crime of opportunity? Their greatest fear is that not only is she their ninth Jane Doe of the year, but that she may be the ninth victim of a vicious transient serial killer they have come to call Doc Holiday.

from Goodreads

I rarely read a series out-of-order and almost never jump in at #4 but I’d heard positive things about this one and I needed something fast and easy to listen to during the 24 Hour Readathon.  It did not disappoint. That being said, I don’t know that I care enough about the two detectives, Kovac and Liska, to continue on with the series, but I did really enjoy this as a standalone.

The case of the Zombie Doe leads the police to a local high school, the very one that Liska’s son attends.  The detectives, the Mean Girls, and the serial killer lead the reader on a very satisfying chase.  I enjoyed, and subsequently hated, the cruelty of high school.  I know it’s changed a lot in the almost 26 years since I’ve been there, but still, I have to hope things aren’t this bad everywhere.

The two detectives are compelling and it was easy to catch up on their backstory without having read the other books of the series.  The twists and turns made this one a fun audio.

I checked it out of the library.

The Duchess by Jude Deveraux

Title: The Duchess, Author: Jude DeverauxThe Duchess. Finished 5-1-16, rating 4.25/5, 362 pages, pub. 1991

Claire Willoughby risked losing her millions in her inheritance if, as decreed by her grandfather, she did not wed an “acceptable” man. Harry Montgomery, the eleventh Duke of MacArran, seemed perfect. He owned a historical castle, he looked manly in a kilt, and he was as much a titled Scotsman as Bonnie Prince Charlie himself.

Their engagement announced, Claire’s future as a duchess was assured — and she set off with her family to meet the Montgomery clan in Scotland. Bramley Castle was a damp, chill place, overflowing with eccentric relatives. But there was also Trevelyan, a secretive, brooding man who lived in Bramley’s ancient halls. Whoever he was, he wasn’t at all like Harry: Trevelyan was the most exasperating, arrogant, know-it-all of a man Claire had ever met. And the most fascinating …

from Goodreads

The older Jude Deveraux historical romances, especially ones that have Montgomery men in hem, are comfort reads.  I used to read romances almost exclusively when I was in my teens and she and Judith McNaught were/are favorites.  I’ve read a few of Devereux’s newer books but they just don’t hold the same appeal.  This one did not disappoint.

Claire, a once-wealthy American, heads to Scotland to spend time with Harry Montgomery, laird of his clan.  It was 1883 and per her grandfather’s will, she must marry a man her parents approve of in order to collect her inheritance, an inheritance her lazy parents have already been spending.  Harry proposes and it looks like a happy ending is assured, until  she meets Trevelyan, the sickly man who lives in the hidden part of the castle.  She is drawn to him as she becomes disillusioned with life in the castle.  Trevelyan appreciates her curiosity and intelligence and Harry would be happy for her to silently watch him hunt all day.

There are evil mothers, mysteries to be solved, exotic people to meet and maybe more than one happy ending.  It’s also full of stereotypical tropes, but they are used well and easily forgiven.  Claire’s younger sister used language that was clearly not of the times, but meant to convey her young attitude.  If you like your romances to be politically correct then this is not for you, but as a lover of the genre I consider it a treat for my brain. I devoured it in two days.

This was from my personal library.



Scrambled Lisas – guessing closed

There are quite a few bestselling Lisa authors.  Unscramble the title and tell me her last name 🙂

No Googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome 🙂  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

Leave your guesses as a comment. Good luck!!

  1. LLITS  ECILA Still Alice – Lisa Genova
  2. NOWS  OWREFL  NAD  ETH  RETCES  ANF  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See
  3. EAUBTIFUL  ILES  Beautiful Lies – Lisa Unger
  4. NEMI  LILT  NIGHTMID  Mine Till Midnight – Lisa Kleypas
  5. TEH  MANPELLS  LIFES  The Spellman Files – Lisa Lutz
  6. HET  SHOUE  EW  REGW  PU  NI  The House We Grew Up In – Lisa Jewell
  7. OUTTHWI  CRYME  Without Mercy – Lisa Jackson
  8. KAWE  Wake – Lisa McMann
  9. NLOAE  Alone – Lisa Gardner
  10. HTE FERPECT BUSHAND  The Perfect Husband – Lisa Scottoline

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

Title: The Weird Sisters, Author: Eleanor BrownThe Weird Sisters. Finished 4-20-16, rating 4.25/5 , fiction, pub. 2011

Unabridged audio read by Kirsten Potter. 10 hours, 26 minutes.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.

But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from — one another, their small hometown, and themselves — might offer more than they ever expected.  

from Goodreads

Let me start by mentioning that I went and heard Curtis Settenfeld speak tonight about her latest book, Eligible,  inspired by  Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (more on that later). She talked a little about how Austen had many unlikeable, unredeemable characters and how that it was different in today’s fiction.  As I sit here to write this review for a book I finished weeks ago, I have to say that in these three weird sisters, Brown has created some unlikeable characters, the biggest difference being that they all (more or less) achieved some redemption by the end.  The sisters were so distinct and, yet, so flawed that it made the story recognizable.

Two Andreas sisters were called back to Barnwell, a small, fictional Ohio college town, because their mother had been diagnosed with cancer, the third was still living there.  Rosiland, the responsible oldest, was afraid to leave.  Bianca, the middle sister, was a mess in more ways than one, thinking nothing of stealing thousands from her boss or sleeping with the husband of a woman she respects.  And, poor baby Cordelia, arrived on the doorstep preggers and unwilling to name a father.  I have always wanted a sibling or two, most only kids do at some point, because when push comes to shove, whether you like them or not, there is always a bond.  Stories about sibling dynamics always fascinate me and I really enjoyed this messed up family that quoted Shakespeare and would rather read books than do pretty much anything else.

The story is told from what feels like a fourth ghost sister. When I looked around, I saw it called a ‘plural collective’, ‘community voice’, and the probably most correct ‘first person plural’. At first I was a little confused about which sister was narrating the story, but (not as quickly as I should have) realized that it was really all of them. It was inventive and felt like a fresh way to tell a time-old story about sisters.  I really liked this one.

I read and listened to this one and would recommend either.




Book problem, year 9


Last week I showed you this year’s Mt. TBR and asked for your book estimate. Amazingly, one of you was only 13 off!!!!  That is impressive.  Drumroll, please…


That means that Hannah was only 13 off with her 840 guess!  It also means that I did a good job of reading my own books (35) and donating to the library book sale (60+)all the while keeping my book intake to a minimum.  I had 49 less books than 2015 🙂

In the few weeks since I painstakingly created this monster for my yearly inventory of unread books, I have read one and gave away 105.  I feel better 🙂  Some of these books have been in Mt. TBR since 2008 and they needed to be re-evaluated.

That first year I didn’t even bother to count the books!  I should compare the two and see how many are still there after 8 years.  Maybe next year.

If any of you would like to share a pic of your unread stacks leave a link to your post or just a picture and I’ll include it here.