Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

May’s movies & $ for charity

How as your movie month?  Anything I need to see?

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 $55.

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.

Snow White 1937 poster.pngSnow White & the Seven Dwarfs, 1937    Grade B

Original Show White sweetness.

Grumpy is my favorite – married him!  (Kay)

A much loved childhood favorite.  (Michelle)

Good first effort for animation.  (Heather)


Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon with Felicity Jones as Sienna Brooks running together, with the film's title is written vertically in the middle between them, the film's director's name above and the billing and credits underneath them.Inferno, 2016 (Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones)   Grade B-

Langdon in Florence, read the book.

Good. Need to read book.  (Michelle)


Smurfs The Lost Village poster.jpgSmurfs:The Lost Village, 2017 (Voices-Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer)    Grade C-/D+

I liked them as a kid?!!?!?!?


A black-and-white poster of a mass of people being surrounded/tortured by the aliens, not unlike the Renaissance depictions of Hell, with one alien at the center highlighted by a shaft of light from the upper-left.Alien:Covenant, 2017 (Michael Fassbender. Billy Crudup, Katherine Waterson, Danny McBride, the alien(s))    Grade D

Good grief! Stupidest humans ever!

What? OMG, I loved it!  (Michelle)

Never ever go off course…..  (Heather)


May 27, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 10 Comments

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Title: The Hate U Give, Author: Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give. Finished 5-16-17, rating 5/5, fiction, 444 pages, pub. 2017

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.                      from Goodreads

This is one fantastic debut!  Thomas has taken a very important problem in America today and thrown back the curtains in a way that allows us all in on the experience.  That’s not to say that from a storytelling standpoint I didn’t have a few issues, but I think that’s pretty typical in most debut books. I can only imagine the bright future ahead of Thomas after this.

Starr has witnessed not one, but two, of her best friends get shot, one by a gang drive-by and one by a police officer.  It’s the one by the police officer that has turned into a national story and a powder keg for the community. Starr and her family live in the ghetto, as she likes to say, her father owns the local food shop and her mother is a nurse at the local hospital.  She has one half brother and one brother, but the five of them mostly live together as a close-knit family.  You will fall in love with Big Mav and Uncle Carlos.

Starr lives in a poor neighborhood but every day spends an hour in the car to go to a prep school, where she has white boyfriend and is one of the few black students.  As she tries to come to terms with the shooting and aftermath she tries to keep her involvement a secret from both areas of her life for different reasons.

It’s a powerful read told from the perspective of a 16 year-old girl who lives two lives and how a horrific tragedy forced the two to collide.  Starr acts like an adult most of the time, but her decisions show that she is also still a kid trying to figure out the crazy world we live in.  I loved her.  I wanted to shake her sometimes, but found her true to the teenager spirit.

I live in Cleveland, not so far from where 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot by police for playing with a toy gun at a park.  That story broke my heart.  Still does.  Even if you tend to choose a side in these true horror stories, this book will probably challenge some of your assumptions.  This book is powerful and should be a must read. 

My book group, save one, really liked the book and it led to great discussion.

May 23, 2017 Posted by | 5 Star Books | 10 Comments

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

Title: The Quiet Game (Penn Cage Series #1), Author: Greg IlesThe Quiet Game. Finished 5-6-17, rating 4.5/5, mystery, 624 pages, pub. 2000

Penn Cage #1

Penn Cage is no stranger to death. As a Houston prosecutor he sent sixteen men to death row, and watched seven of them die. But now, in the aftermath of his wife’s death, the grief-stricken father packs up his four-year-old daughter, Annie, and returns to his hometown in search of healing. But peace is not what he finds there.

Determined to save his father from a ruthless blackmailer, Penn stumbles over a link to the town’s darkest secret: the thirty-year-old unsolved murder of a black Korean War veteran. But what drives him to act is the revelation that this haunting mystery is inextricably bound up with his own past. Under a blaze of national media attention, Penn reopens the case, only to find local records destroyed, the FBI file sealed, and the town closing ranks against him.     from Goodreads

Penn Cage’s sixth book was released this year and I was able to hear author Greg Iles as he came to a local library to promote, Mississippi Burning, but I decided to start back at the beginning.  Penn lives in Natchez, Mississippi and much of this 2000 book was about race.  A race crime took place when Penn was a child and the FBI, under Hoover, closed and sealed the case without ever solving it.  When he finds out someone is blackmailing his daddy, he runs smack dab into this old powder keg of a case.

I liked Penn and his family.  Penn, prosecutor turned bestselling author, lost his wife to cancer but little Annie was the apple of his eye.  His parents were both pillars of strength and good in Natchez.  Penn himself was just trying to do what was right.  He managed to have a few romantic entanglements as the bullets were flying around him, but I won’t hold that against him.

It was a long book, but I found ways to sneak reading time in here and there, a certain sign of a great book.  I already have the second Penn Cage book and am looking forward to reading it soon.  If you like southern stories, mysteries, and great writing I think this may be the book for you!

 

May 22, 2017 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | 4 Comments

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Title: Whiskey Beach, Author: Nora RobertsWhiskey Beach. Finished 5-14-17, rating 3/5, romance?, pub. 2013

Unabridged audio performed by Peter Berkrot. 15 hours 33 minutes.

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigation after being accused of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife. And though there was never enough evidence to have him arrested, his reputation is in tatters as well as his soul. He needs sanctuary. He needs Bluff House.

While Eli’s beloved grandmother is in Boston, recuperating from a nasty fall, Abra Walsh has cared for Bluff House, among her other jobs as yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist. She is a woman with an open heart and a wide embrace, and no one is safe from her special, some would say overbearing, brand of nurturing—including Eli.

He begins to count on Abra for far more than her cooking, cleaning, and massage skills, and starts to feel less like a victim—and more like the kind of man who can finally solve the murder of his wife and clear his name. But Bluff House’s many mysteries are a siren song to someone intent on destroying Eli and reaping the rewards. He and Abra will become entangled in a centuries-old net of rumors and half-truths that could pull them under the thunderous waters of Whiskey Beach….  from Goodreads

Nora Roberts is an easy listen.  You don’t need to be 100% glued to the audio to follow the story.  That’s a good thing in this case, because I thought this one was just meh.  I thought Eli’s backstory and what he went through as a suspect in his wife’s murder was interesting, but the rest of it, not as much.

Roberts is hit or miss with me and this one is a miss, but I will still give her a listen when I’m cleaning or driving 🙂

Do you have a favorite Nora Roberts novel?  I really liked The Witness.

May 18, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books | 8 Comments

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Title: The Forgetting Time: A Novel, Author: Sharon GuskinThe Forgetting Time. Finished 5-2-17, 3/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2016

Unabridged audio read by Susan Bennett and David Pittu.  I liked the dual narration.

Noah wants to go home. A seemingly easy request from most four year olds. But as Noah’s single-mother, Janie, knows, nothing with Noah is ever easy. One day the pre-school office calls and says Janie needs to come in to talk about Noah, and no, not later, now – and life as she knows it stops.

For Jerome Anderson, life as he knows it has stopped. A deadly diagnosis has made him realize he is approaching the end of his life. His first thought – I’m not finished yet. Once a shining young star in academia, a graduate of Yale and Harvard, a professor of psychology, he threw it all away because of an obsession. Anderson became the laughing stock of his peers, but he didn’t care – something had to be going on beyond what anyone could see or comprehend. He spent his life searching for that something else. And with Noah, he thinks he’s found it.

Soon Noah, Janie and Anderson will find themselves knocking on the door of a mother whose son has been missing for eight years – and when that door opens, all of their questions will be answered.  from Goodreads

This showed up on a list of page turners so I was excited to give this debut author a try.  I didn’t know (because I didn’t read the description) that the main theme of this novel was reincarnation and that’s a good thing because I probably would have avoided it altogether.  We all need to read, or in this case listen, outside of our comfort zone or interests once in a while.  How else would we grow?

Anyway, the Goodreads description is a good one that reveals just the right amount of info and I don’t want to spoil more of the story. If you are looking to learn a little bit more about reincarnation and the history of it or like stories about the strength of a mother’s love then this one fits the bill.

May 15, 2017 Posted by | 3 Star Books | 4 Comments

Reboot with Joe Juice Diet by Joe Cross

The Reboot with Joe Juice Diet: Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Feel AmazingReboot with Joe Juice Diet: Lose Weight, Get Healthy and Feel Amazing. Finished 4-30-17, 3.5/5 stars, health/diet, 240 pages, pub. 2014

In January, Jason and I watched 30 documentaries in 30 days, where we ‘met’ author Joe Cross in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.   During the Read-a-Thon last month I read this book where Joe outlines different ways to try his juicing challenge.  In the movie Joe went 60 days drinking nothing but freshly made fruit and veggie juices, but this book outlines different choices depending on your specific needs.

I am trying my own version of this diet this month for my 30 day challenge, closer to Joe’s original diet than the ones he talks about here.  You can follow my progress here.  I’ve lost 9 pounds in 11 days and feel really good.

The book has recipes and I tried a few at the beginning, but it’s easier just to make your own concoction with whatever you like and have on hand.  There are also inspiring stories and photos from people who have tried the diet.  This is a good place to start after seeing the documentary.

 

May 11, 2017 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | 1 Comment

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Title: Frankenstein (Barnes & Noble Classics Series), Author: Mary ShelleyFrankenstein. Finished 4-29-17, rating 4/5 stars, classic, 206 pages, pub. 1818

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.    from Goodreads

I read most of this one first thing during the 24 hour readathon.  During the readathon you want short books so this classic fit the bill, but you also want books that read fast and this failed in that department for sure.  I had a hard time with the archaic language at first, but got into the rhythm after about 20 pages or so and really got into the story.  Yes, I knew some of the bigger plot points just from, you know, living life, but the majority of the story was completely new to me and quite compelling.

Victor Frankenstein became interested in the ancient alchemists when he was a teen in Geneva.  He heads off to university to study chemistry when he becomes obsessed with bring inanimate objects to life.  He succeeds and Frankenstein’s monster is born.  Horrified by the ugliness before him he retreats, sickened.  Henry, a childhood friend visits from home and nurses him back to health not really understanding that Victor’s nightmares are not make believe at all.  After Victor gets better and life seems normal again, the monster finds Victor and begins a quest to hound him until a mate is made so the monster can have the companionship he deserves.

This story is almost 200 years old and still resonates for good reason.  It has all the elements of a great story with something to say.  The monster, aptly nicknamed, does horrific things, and yet, his first speech to Victor really inspired sympathy. The monster wanted only friendship and instead received nothing but terrified people in his wake.  What happens if a person is shunned by everyone, even the one who made him?  Especially the one he made him.  Nothing good.

It’s a story still worth the time and effort. I’ve never seen any of the movies, so  I might have to give those a look this summer.

This was my 12th selection for the Classics Club and it also counts for my Reading Harder challenge.

May 9, 2017 Posted by | 4 Star Books | 10 Comments

April’s movies, money for charity

Last month I watched more  movies than usual because of Blogging from A-Z posts.  And Tony went on a spree and got us to 100 and then some, and he chose the Red Cross so $100 was sent in his name.

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 $49.

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.

ShawshankRedemptionMoviePoster.jpgThe Shawshank Redemption, 1994 (Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman)    Grade A

Innocence hard to find in Shawshank.


Far from the Madding Crowd (2015 film).jpgFar from the Madding Crowd, 2015 (Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts, Michael Sheen)   Grade B+

Independent spirit finds true love.


Beauty and the Beast 2017 poster.jpgBeauty and the Beast, 2017 (Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad)      Grade B

Lovely Beauty tames a Beast.


It Happened One Night (1934) theatrical poster.jpgIt Happened One Night, 1934 (Clark Cable, Claudette Colbert)    Grade B

Love story with two greats.

Cute, funny, entertaining romantic classic.  (Leslie)


Me Before You (film).jpgMe Before You, 2016 (Emilia Clarke, Sam Clafin)    Grade B

Louisa & Will brought to life.  

Made me cry and think.  (Kathy)

 


 

Jack Reacher Never Go Back poster.jpgJack Reacher: Never Go Back, 2016 (Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders)     Grade B-

Is the daughter story true?


 


 

 

Cara Delevingne and Nat Wolff as Margo Roth Spiegelman and Quentin "Q" Jacobsen respectivelyPaper Towns, 2015 (Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith)   Grade C+

Wild Margo chase with friends

More for teens than adults.   (Kathy)

May 3, 2017 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | 3 Comments

Book problem year 10

Another year, another Mt. TBR.  I started this yearly project back in 2008 and thought it was fun to recreate every year as books were added.  The only problem was that at some point it just got to be too many books.  In 2015 I was up to 876 books.  That’s 876 books in my house that I have not read!  I try to declutter and always have a giveaway box going in the house for old clothes, toys, etc., but until this last year I haven’t done such a great job with the books.

Last year was the first year I actually had my number go down! I had 827 books. The physical act of moving all of these books to one spot every year really puts those numbers in perspective.  I was exhausted last year and went on a donation spree, read 31 and had a Bookish Wine Party where a few more found their way to good homes, but I also added 49.  So, after all that I was looking forward to my new Mt. TBR.  I wasn’t disappointed.

book probemfinal

Still looks a little unmanageable right?  But I went from 827 last year to 734 this year!  Yay! That’s 2 years in a row that my book wall has gone down by considerable numbers.  Maybe next year I can get into the 600s 🙂

Wanna share a pic of your Mt. TBR?

May 2, 2017 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | 12 Comments