April’s Movies & $ for Charity

A few of these were repeats.  Psycho is an all-time favorite that I’ll be posting about next week and we let Gage stay up late a few times this month to introduce him to classics like The Money Pit, lol.  He loved it, of course.

You know the drill, 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 $38 right now.  Your charity could be next 

The poster features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho". Psycho, 1960 (Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin. Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam)             Grade A

Thriller perfection. Must-see classic.

Scariest movie I’ve ever seen.  (Kathy)

Creepy deluxe! Eee! Eee! Eee! (explanation of ‘Eee’ involves shower curtains and stabbing – ha!   (Kay)

Smart people.jpg Smart People, 2008 (Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ellen Page, Thomas Hayden Church, Ashton Holmes)      Grade B+

I love intelligence, even the cantankerous kind.

As Above, So Below Poster.jpg As Above So Below, 2014 (Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, Ali Marhyar)    Grade B+

Boring to can’t-look-away in a hot minute.  

Money pit movie poster.jpg Money Pit, 1986 (Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, Alexander Godunov, Maureen Stapleton)                Grade B

Can’t help but laugh.

Love some Tom and Shelley!   (Kay)

Deliverance poster.jpg Deliverance, 1972 (Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox)        Grade B-

Freaky but okay backwoods thriller.

Will.Never.Watch.Again! Ick!    (Kay)

Before i go to sleep poster.jpg Before I Go To Sleep, 2014 (Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Ann-Marie Duff)      Grade B-

Not knowing who you are – every morning.

Hop2011Poster.jpg Hop, 2011 (James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, voices of Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria)         Grade B-

Some Fun Easter Fluff.

Mount Vernon Love Story: A Novel of George and Martha Washington by Mary Higgins Clark

Title: Mount Vernon Love Story, Author: Mary Higgins Clark Mount Vernon Love Story. Finished 4-25-20, 3.5/5 stars, historical fiction, 223 pages, pub. 1968

Always a lover of history, Mary Higgins Clark wrote this extensively researched biographical novel and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, after the motto of George Washington’s mother. Published in 1969, the book was more recently discovered by a Washington family descendant and reissued as Mount Vernon Love Story. Dispelling the widespread belief that although George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, he reserved his true love for Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend’s wife, Mary Higgins Clark describes the Washington marriage as one full of tenderness and passion, as a bond between two people who shared their lives — even the bitter hardship of a winter in Valley Forge — in every way. In this author’s skilled hands, the history, the love, and the man come fully and dramatically alive.   from Goodreads

Mary Higgins Clark’s love for George Washington shines through in this, her first, book.  I enjoyed learned more about young Washington’s life through the eyes of a romantic.  While she covered the necessary benchmarks of his rise to greatness she also infused these episodes with feeling.  How did he feel about the pock marks on his face after small pox?  How did he feel after his step daughter died and his Patsy was grieving?  Did he really love his wife or was she just a stand in?

I think the fact that this was her first book was evident in the way the story didn’t really have a lot of tension or excitement to keep me turning the pages. This can be excused because Washington is always going to be of interest so the interest was there to continue, but just looking at the storytelling it was a bit lacking.

There was lots of great background and some new insight for me.  I might look at this as a gateway or a teaser for those who don’t know a lot about Washington or how he was in love with his best friend’s girl.  It will have you wanting to know more.  And you will forever think of Martha as Patsy.



My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Title: My One and Only, Author: Kristan Higgins My One and Only. Finished 4-25-20, 4/5 stars, romance, 379 pages, pub. 2011

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.     from Goodreads

Harper has a hunky boyfriend, a coveted house overlooking the beach, and a successful career as a divorce attorney.  Just as she’s trying to propose to hunky boyfriend her step sister calls with the news that she’s marrying Harper’s ex-husband’s brother.  Hunky boyfriend comes in handy in these situations as they head to Montana for the wedding that Harper hopes doesn’t take place.

This is not your normal romance.  Yes, there’s first love never forgotten,  regret and steamy scenes, but there is also heartbreak, divorce, strange family ties and a hero and heroine not quite like the others.  I didn’t care for Harper for awhile and my issues with ex-hubby Nick remained, BUT the book had its charm and the last few chapters were top-notch.  I like the way that Higgins dealt with the parents and their issues in this book.  For me, that where the heart was.

Higgins, as always, entertains while touching your heart.

This Week – Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

Fave pic IMG_4046 On Earth Day we spent some time in nature.

Highlights Well, on Wednesday I spent my first day running errands in about 2 months.  A trip to Gage’s school, Whole Foods, local bookstore pickup (they hung my purchase on a hook outside their back door), the metro park with Gage, and a dinner curbside pickup.  I’m not gonna lie, it gave me a little boost of kinda-normal that was nice.

Also, I participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon.  I went in thinking I was going to try to stay up the whole 24, but decided around hour 18 that I was going to call it a day (around 2 am this morning).  I probably would have made it at least another few hours but I lost my ear buds so I couldn’t move around the house listening to audio books in the wee hours of the night like I usually do.  It was a beautiful day to be outside and read.

Dewey’s Read-a-thon 

The Art of the Handwritten Note review

The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben review

Books read The Boy from the Woods Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark My One and Only by Kristan Higgins The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Reading The Birth of Jesus According to the Gos…

Listening A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock…

Movies As Above, So Below Poster.jpg The poster features a large image of a young woman in white underwear. The names of the main actors are featured down the right side of the poster. Smaller images of Anthony Perkins and John Gavin are above the words, written in large print, "Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho".(this is a fave of mine that I’ll be writing about this week)

Plans for the Weekend Doing some prep work for homeschooling.  We got a little behind this week.  What about your weekend?

I’m linking up with the Sunday Salon.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon

24hrreading1-thumb It’s 8 am and here in Cleveland, Ohio and here I am with my coffee, my stack of books and 24 hours to read.  I’ll be reading books, a few magazines, books with my son, audio books for when I need to move or cook, and even blogs for a change of pace.


This is somewhere around a dozen Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thons for me and it will be my last one.  When I did my first one 11 years ago, well, I was 11 years younger and without child.  I loved the challenge of trying to stay awake 24 to devote time to my favorite activity.  And I LOVED the mini-challenges.  I loved checking in on the blog each hour or two and trying a fun bookish challenge and seeing everyone giving it a try too.  Over the years I hosted mini-challenges probably as many times as I read.  I think one of my mini-challenges is still my most viewed post ever and it’s from years ago.  The whole 24 hours I felt like I was part of a community and it was a blast.

So why is this the last one?  Well, I see that Andi and Heather are passing the reins on to someone else after all these years and thought it would be a fitting time to bow out.  You can, of course, participate just reading when you can, no stress, but that’s rarely the way I roll 🙂  I like the idea of staying up 24 hours, but now the day after is really not my best day and I hate not being fully present for 2 whole days when I have a kid who needs me.  Although, with this quarantine business I’m re-thinking that.  We’ve been able to spend lots of quality time together lately, lol.

Anyway, if you are reading in the read-a-thon today too leave me a message and I’ll stop by to say hi.  I’ll be updating on Instagram (@stacybuckeye) and the Facebook group.  Stay home and read on!

The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication by Margaret Shepherd

Title: The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication, Author: Margaret Shepherd The Art of the Handwritten Note. Finished 4-17-20, 3/5 stars, reference, 153 pages, pub. 2002

For those who enjoy writing notes, or those who value doing so but find themselves intimidated by the task, acclaimed calligrapher Margaret Shepherd has created both an epistolary tribute and rescue manual. Just as you cherish receiving personal mail, you can take pleasure in crafting correspondence. Love, gratitude, condolences, congratulations–for every emotion and occasion, a snippet of heartfelt prose is included, sure to loosen the most stymied letter writer.  from Goodreads

Civilized, stolen right from the title, is the perfect work for this letter writing reference.  Shepherd starts with the why of a personal, handwritten note and during these crazy times of social distancing I think we all can agree that a heartfelt note in the mailbox can really brighten your day.  Gage and I made crafty heart cards for all of our neighbors on the street and spread some love closer to home.  It’s a great time to pick up a pen and paper and practice your cursive skills.

There’s quite a bit of time spent on the paper to choose, the different kinds of pens, and how to improve your handwriting before she gets into the nitty-gritty of what to say.  I liked reading about what to say and what not to say, but the whole thing felt a little bit tone deaf in 2020.  I picked this up at the library book sale a few months ago and it was a good time to read it.



The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben

Title: The Boy from the Woods, Author: Harlan Coben The Boy from the Woods. Finished 4-18-20, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, 370 pages, pub. 2020

The man known as Wilde is a mystery to everyone, including himself. Decades ago, he was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past. After the police concluded an exhaustive hunt for the child’s family, which was never found, he was turned over to the foster system.

Now, thirty years later, Wilde still doesn’t know where he comes from, and he’s back living in the woods on the outskirts of town, content to be an outcast, comfortable only outdoors, preferably alone, and with few deep connections to other people.

When a local girl goes missing, famous TV lawyer Hester Crimstein–with whom Wilde shares a tragic connection–asks him to use his unique skills to help find her. Meanwhile, a group of ex-military security experts arrive in town, and when another teen disappears, the case’s impact expands far beyond the borders of the peaceful suburb. Wilde must return to the community where he has never fit in, and where the powerful are protected even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions . . . secrets that Wilde must uncover before it’s too late.   from Goodreads

Wilde was found in the New Jersey woods as a boy and no one knew who he was or how he got there.  He grew up in foster care with people who loved him.  He spent time in the military and working security with a foster sister, but when we meet him he is living in a small moveable home out in the woods, with monitors that alerted him to intruders coming his way.  His best friend’s son comes to him scared because a girl at his school goes missing.  Wilde finds her with little effort and finds that he likes the outcast.  So, when she runs away/goes missing again he steps into the action and gets way more than he bargained for.

The backdrop of this is money and politics.  I don’t know how deeply I want to delve into it because everyone will bring their own leanings into what is said.  I saw one group of people very clearly, but someone on the other side of the political spectrum might see something else.  The world we live in is full of extremism and lies and Coben addresses the fallout.

A lot is happening in this book, but every twist and turn in the last fourth of the book was very satisfying for this reader.

I’ve read that Wilde will be back sometime in the future and I am so excited about this.  I loved Wilde and his relationship with Hester.  I’ve read all of Coben’s books and they are all good, but more than a few are great and this is one of those.  If you’ve not read Coben this is a good place to start (although Tell No One is still my fave).  His sense of humor always comes through and he always has his pulse on what is going on in the world, so the stories always feel relevant and just crazy enough for some thriller fun.

This Week -Fresh Faces

Fave Pic IMG_3951 (1) Razzi is usually up for picture posing, but I have to wait until Sammi falls asleep to get a good picture.  She is such a cuddle bug.

Highlights Another week has gone by?  Who can keep up, really?  We have been homebound completely this week, with the exception Jason making a trip to the Chick-Fil-A drive thru a few nights ago, wearing his mask of course.

My book club did a FaceTime meetup on Thursday night and it was both weird and fun.  So good to see everyone’s faces, especially since I’ve missed the past few months.

Gage also worked on a chalk obstacle course in our driveway (both Jason and I helped at different times) and we invited neighbors and grandparents to give it a try.  I should have checked the weather since it lasted 24 hours before the snow washed it away.  Maybe we’ll try a new one if it ever warms up.

Finished Reading The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guid… A quote just to give you a taste of the seriousness of this book.  “After you have defined yourself through your pen and paper and the handwriting you  create with them, your wording adds the third dimension , one that may be the simplest to create.”  page 39

Currently Reading The Boy from the Woods

American Dirt review

Puzzles finished IMG_3978 This was a 500 piece puzzle that didn’t take long to finish once all three of us were working on it.

Movies watched Deliverance poster.jpg Yes, this was my first time watching this classic.

On the Small Screen We’ve caught a few episodes of the first season of Bosch on Amazon Prime.

Plans for the rest of the weekend  Is anyone making plans anymore?  I don’t know.  Hopefully finishing my Harlan Coben book!  What are you up to?

I’m linking up with theThe Sunday Salon


American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Title: American Dirt (Oprah's Book Club), Author: Jeanine Cummins American Dirt. Finished 4-11-20, 4/5 stars, fiction, pub 2019

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?    from Goodreads

So, I read about the controversy before my book group picked it for this month.  I understood that it was coming from a sincere place.  I won’t go into it much here, but you can always do a search if you’re interested, there are lots of articles.  I read the first shocking and heartbreaking chapter and understood the hook.  I was drawn in right from the get go.

The story begins with the violent murders of Lydia’s family, fourteen in total, by the cartel in Acapulco.  Forced to flee with her son, this middle class bookstore owner has more means and motive than the average migrant heading north.  The two are literally running for their lives.  Luca is only a year younger than Gage and I would love to own a bookstore so I was perhaps extra invested in their plight.  The complexity of escaping the cartel and the stories of the people they met along the was eye opening.

I liked the way that the story was told with live action interspersed with significant flashbacks to give the story heft.  There was a humanizing of all of the characters that you don’t often find.  It’s a timely and important story with a perspective not many of us understand and for that reason alone it should be read.

My book group of ten all liked the book to varying degrees, except for the one who only made it to the 82% mark.  I found it hard to read about such a heartbreaking topic when I was so stressed and I do think that tempered my enjoyment of it.  I’m still glad that I read it.

This Week – Hoppy Easter

Fave Pic IMG_E3945 We heard the Easter Bunny was going to be doing a drive by and Gage went out a few minutes before I did.  I went out just in time to get this photo and then stand around the cul-de-sac talking to neighbors.  It was nice to see some familiar faces after so many weeks in the house.

Highlights We’ve had some very nice sunny days and two snowy days, one with a bad storm with hail.  Hopefully, it will decide to be spring soon.

Monday was the start of the online remote learning and was an adjustment, but now that we know what we’re doing we’re both really liking it!  And he was able to see both his reading and his math teacher in a Google chat.  He loves to talk to adults, kids not as much.

I made a trip to his school, the gas station and curbside pickup for dinner one night and otherwise we’ve been here.  We’re fortunate that we have everything we need and we’re with people we love.  I worry about those in difficult situations and need to look for ways I can help.  I know some friends are sewing masks.  Have you found a way to help during this time?  Gage and I have written lots of notes and sent lots of snail mail.

The Knife of Never Letting Go review

Books read  American Dirt Read this for my book group and it was a difficult read for me right now. I liked it, but my mind is craving fluff and fun right now.

Books reading The Art of the Handwritten Note: A Guid…

Movies Watched Hop2011Poster.jpg

On the Small Screen We finished up season 3 of Ozark – crazy as ever!  And we’re all caught up on Survivor.  I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and spent most of the day in bed except for an hour to see the Easter Bunny and decorate some nature eggs and I was able to watch the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries.  It had been too long.  (I’m feeling fine today but now Jason has a migraine)

Plans for the rest of the day?  Cooking, cleaning, and celebrating Easter with some crafts and church at home.

What are your Easter plans?

I’m linking up with theSunday Salon at Readerbuzz.