Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

March’s Movies

Gage had a week where he only had half days of school and I was so excited to take him to the movies twice.  We were the only ones in Lego Batman and we had a blast trying all the rows 🙂

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 $43.

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.

Teaser poster for 2017 film Get Out.pngGet Out, 2017 (Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener)        Grade B

Creepy, smart, racially charged horror.

Steeped in reality, metaphorically.   (Michelle)


The Lego Batman Movie PromotionalPoster.jpgLego Batman, 2017 (Voices-Will Arnett, Zach Galifanakis, Michael Cera, Roasario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes)             Grade B

Talking Legos aren’t my thing.

Darkness was never so Awesome.  (Jen)


Odd Thomas poster film.jpgOdd Thomas, 2013 (Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Addison Timlin, Nico Tortorella)                                           Grade B-

Dude can see dead people.

Saw it. Barely remember it.   (Michelle)


Rock Dog 2016 Teaser Poster.jpgRock Dog, 2017 (Voices-Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, JK Simmons, Lewis Black, Keeanan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia, Matt Dillon, Sam Elliott)      Grade B-

Mastiff purses rock ‘n roll.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 5 Comments

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the BeastWhen Beauty Tamed the Beast. Finished 3-20-17, rating 4.5/5, historical romance, 372 pages, pub. 2011

Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she’s betrothed to a Beast.

Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.

Linnet is not just any woman.

She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.

Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.

If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?      from Goodreads

When I heard Eloisa James say that she had read 7 years worth of House MD scripts to get the character of House just right, I knew I would love this one.  The classic tale of Beauty and the Beast is a timely one one right now and even though I haven’t seen the movie yet, I can recommend the book.  Like yesterday’s novel this takes me to Wales, only it’s the a few hundred years ago.  House, I mean Piers, was a solid curmudgeon of brilliance, complete with bum leg.  Linnet was beautiful enough to interest a prince, but not to seal the deal so the two are thrown together as a last resort for one and an olive branch, of sorts, for the other.

It’s witty, sexy and smart.  I love that Piers had his own hospital inside his castle with a loyal and loving family, even if dysfunctional.  Linnet, for all her beauty, had no one even though every man in the same room fell at her feet.   The two recognized something in each other and it was only a matter of time until they had their happily ever after.

 

March 28, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 8 Comments

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I Let You Go, Author: Clare MackintoshI Let You Go. Finished 3-25-17, rating 4.25/5, suspense, pub. 2016

Unabridged audio read by Nicola Barber and Steven Crossley. 12 hours.

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.    from Goodreads

I remember all the hype for this book when it came out and when it showed up on a recent unputdownable list, I checked the audio out of the library.  For the first few cds I really couldn’t figure out why there were so many raves about it.  I actually stopped listening for a week and was questioning to bother with the rest since I definitely didn’t get the unputdownable label at all.  But, I decided to give it a bit longer when I was cleaning one day and it started to build some steam.

This was a good book that starts with the horrific death of a child.  There was more than one big twist and the less you know the better. I loved  the Wales seaside Jenna found comfort in.  I would love to visit someday, under happier circumstances.

So, I think the slow beginning could deter some people, but if you can make it past that it turns into something unexpected and I liked it.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 6 Comments

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics:Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies:The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders by Kenneth Bock, MD and Cameron Stauth

Title: Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders, Author: Kenneth BockHealing the New Childhood Epidemics. Finished 3-23-17, rating 4.5/5, children’s health, 458 pages, pub. 2007

Doctors have generally overlooked the connections among the 4-A disorders, despite their concurrent rise and the presence of many medical clues. For years the medical establishment has considered autism medically untreatable and utterly incurable, and has limited ADHD treatment mainly to symptom suppression. Dr. Bock and his colleagues, however, have discovered a solution – one that goes to the root of the problem. They have found that deadly modern toxins, nutritional deficiencies, metabolic imbalances, genetic vulnerabilities and assaults on the immune and gastrointestinal systems trigger most of the symptoms of the 4-A disorders, resulting in frequent misdiagnosis and untold misery.  from Goodreads

Since this was first published in 2007 it’s probably not correct to call it groundbreaking, but for some parents whose children have just been diagnosed with one of these four conditions, it will be.  It’s a well laid out introduction to the biomedical approach of the 4-A’s (autism, ADHD, asthma, allergies).  To be fair, there is way more information on Autism and ADHD, but so many of the underlying health issues of all of these is similar.  Actually, of all the biomedical books I’ve read this one is most likely the best laid out, especially considering the four pronged approach Dr. Bock recommends.

As a mother with a few years of biomed under her belt I can say with certainty that this is a good starting place. I plan on starting one of his nutritional components tomorrow with a few new supplements to follow.  Also, it helped me put into focus the things that Gage’s integrative doctor has us working on right now and helped me clarify a few questions for when I talk to him next.

You can work through two of the four areas on your own, the nutritional and supplements, but your will need a doctor for detoxification and medication (if needed).

There are a few hot button issues that shouldn’t stop you from picking it up.  Like most integrative doctors I’ve met, listened to, and read, Dr. Bock believes that vaccines contribute to these conditions.  If I could only go into my own feelings on it, made even more clear by this book I would, but this post is not about that.  He believes that kids should be vaccinated and even provides a schedule that he considers safer, BUT #1 of his general safety guidelines is administer vaccinations only to abundantly healthy children.  This book will help you get your kid there if he or she isn’t already.

I took lots of notes, did a fair amount of highlighting and have a plan in place to move forward. I’d say the book served its purpose.

 

March 23, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books, Autism | 2 Comments

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Title: My Name Is Lucy Barton, Author: Elizabeth StroutMy name is Lucy Barton. Finished 2-25-17, rating 3.75/5, fiction, pub. 2016

Unabridged audio read by Kimberly Farr

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lies the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.  from Goodreads

I was going to wait to write about this one until after our book club meeting, but since it’s been postponed until June I think I’ll go ahead before I forget about it completely.  I listened to this short book and it was okay.  The writing was great and the mother-daughter relationship at the center was complex and interesting.  The mother was infuriating and I was hoping that Lucy would stand up to her, but as is the case in most parental relationships, they are fraught with landmines that one or both parties would just like to avoid.  This made Lucy a weaker character that she might have been if the story had been told just from the point of view of her escaping her poverty-stricken childhood.

It did feel disjointed, jumping from here to there, with nothing much going on, but then by the end all of the little paths merged into something quite complete.  I did like it, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading more from the author.

 

March 22, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 11 Comments

Eloisa James from Shakespeare professor to romance writer

Mary Bly, the daughter of an award-winning poet and short story writer, spent her childhood writing plays that she and her siblings acted out for their parents.  There wasn’t a television in the house, but there were books, lots of books.  She great up, went to Harvard, became a professor teaching about Shakespeare at Fordham University in New York, and then started writing historical romances.

I’ve read a few of her books and really liked them and I was happy to make the 30 minute drive to hear her speak.  Some authors at these events speak for a few minutes and then hope for questions.  Mary spoke for over 30 minutes and then spent another 30 answering questions, including how her husband proposed.  She was so comfortable, from her years as a professor no doubt.

She talked about her book, How Beauty Tamed the Beast, and how the Beast was based on Dr. House from the House MD TV show.  She read through seven years of scripts so that she could get him just right.  As a fan of House I bought the book that night and am halfway through.  She has made House into a romantic hero, no doubt.  According to her websiteKindle, NookGoogle Play and Kindle CA. are all offering the book for 99 cents just for today.  Buy it!

Also on her site is a clip of her when she came to speak. It was on the local news and there are glimpses of me. I’m famous!

She gave us beautiful recipe cards from the time periods of her books and I have a set to give away. If you like to cook or are an Eloisa James fan leave a comment and I’ll send them your way.

Don’t you just love her shoes?

 

 

March 20, 2017 Posted by | Book signings | 7 Comments

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Title: Maybe in Another Life: A Novel, Author: Taylor Jenkins ReidMaybe in Another Life. Finished 3-16-17, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2015

Unabridged audio read by Julia Whelan. 9 hours 10 minutes.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?  from Goodereads

I’ve been listening to this book in the car for over a week and this morning I finally caved and bought a cinnamon roll and ate the whole glorious thing.  Hannah loves cinnamon rolls and cinnamon rolls were mentioned a lot by pretty much every character throughout the book even til the very last pages.  This is not a complaint but a warning.  If you listen to someone talk about cinnamon rolls enough you will find one to devour.  Just sayin’.

We meet Hannah at the beginning of the book as she moves back to Los Angeles.  She’s a bit of a mess, but through her best friend Gabby’s eyes we see Hannah for the loved and loving woman she is.  When she meets up with an old boyfriend on her first night back Hannah must choose to stay with him or leave with Gabby.  The stories then go from there.

In the next chapter she goes home with Gabby and disaster strikes. The chapter after that she goes home with Ethan and a love is rekindled.  The storylines alternate by chapter so that you are never too long in one that you’ve lost interest in the other. Knowing this is how it was set up I thought for sure I’d hate it.  I didn’t.

There were many ways this could have ended and Reid teased them all.  I probably would have preferred a different ending, BUT I liked it.  Are our lives decided by fate or do we make our own decisions?  If we make a choice will fate keep bringing us back to a preordained life?  This book was fun and though provoking.  I’m looking forward to going back and reading her earlier books.

This made lots of best of  lists when it came out a few years ago and I can see why.

 

March 17, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 6 Comments

Illustrating the Gender Gap – Loganberry Books

I love Loganberry Books in Cleveland Heights. They are eclectic, cozy, huge and they have a cat!  For Women’s History Month they created a unique display that showed the disparity between the number of women and men authors in fiction.

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On their fiction walls they turned the books written by men backwards so that only those written by women are showing.  As a former bookseller and librarian I appreciate all the work that went into this.  Check out the  2 minute video of the walkthrough.  So cool. Here are a few of my pics.

I was excited to see the bookstore tackle something like this.  This was only the two long fiction walls and the poetry section (didn’t get a picture) and didn’t include genres or any of the rest of the store. I loved it.  The story got picked up by a few online sites and I was so disappointed by the comment sections. We have so much more to accomplish as women, not the least of which is respect.  I was surprised by the number of women bashing the women who came up with this idea.  We should be supporting each other.  I honestly get so discouraged by reading almost all online comment sections.

I also loved this idea that you could contribute to local charities and a few national ones that are fighting hard battles right now.

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I went yesterday and spread my $5 worth around 🙂  They also had  this display in the middle of the store.

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This store is a local treasure and the haters only made me spend more money when I stopped by yesterday 🙂

This display is up through today.

March 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

A Bookish Wine Party

In December I read this story at Book Riot and it inspired me to give it a try.  I talked to some of my neighbors and we found a good date.  I invited my book group and a few other book loving friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  The day of the party I pulled out 50+ books from my shelves (read and to be read both) and put fiction on one table and non fiction on another.  Because one of the neighbors said she only read magazines I included a magazine exchange on the ottoman ( I was happy about this since I get way too many magazines to keep up with!).  I went to the store and bought wine, cheese, crackers, some marked down boxes of Valentine chocolates and a bag of Skinny Pop.  Put everything out and waited for people to show up.

I forgot to take any pictures when people were actually here, but my friend took the last three when she came.  I had 14 stop by and everyone came and went home with at least one book, many people brought and took a handful. I was left with a bag of donations for the library plus 14 books that I pulled to read myself (I plan on reading a chapter or two before deciding what to do with them). One neighbor even brought A Man Called Ove which I snatched out of her hands before it made it to the table since that’s our book club read next month 🙂

I thought it was a fun way to get friends together and will do it again, but I might fine tune it just a bit with one bookish activity that could bring everyone together for a few minutes.  I encourage you all to host your own Book Exchange Party!

March 7, 2017 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | 7 Comments

February’s Movies

There has been sickness in the house for two weeks now, first Gage and now me.  I have a sinus infection that will not go away.  I started antibiotics on Friday so I’m hoping to feel the healing start any time now!

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 $40.

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.

Three women standing in the foreground. In the background a rocket is launching.Hidden Figures, 2016 (Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst)                   Grade A

Inspirational women with inspirational talents.


A man and a woman dancing at sunset; a city view stretches out behind them. The woman is wearing a bright yellow dress, her partner is wearing a white colored shirt and tie with dark pants.La La Land, 2016 (Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend)

Grade B

Good to see modern musical.


John Wick Chapter Two.pngJohn Wick Chapter 2, 2017 (Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ian McShane, Ruby Rose)    Grade B+

Love me some John Wick.

Just let me quit, okay? 😀  (Michelle)


DopeTeaserPoster.jpgDope, 2015 (Shameik Moore, Zoe Kravitz, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons)

Grade B

Stereotypes both help and hurt.

 

March 6, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 14 Comments