Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Favorite Books This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, so head on over there to see what other bloggers have loved this year.

I’ve read 73 books this year and will probably finish 3 more before the end of December, but none of those will be making this list 🙂

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017.

  1. Title: A Man Called Ove, Author: Fredrik Backman I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men).  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  His pregnant neighbor picked him up and kept him moving until, finally, he embraced the loving circle that surrounded him.
  2. Title: Mariana, Author: Susanna Kearsley There is history, romance, and a perfect sense of place in all Kearsley books. Julia was sure she’d found her house and she packed up and moved from London to a small English village without a second thought.  She was a children’s book illustrator and was able to make a few friends right away just as she was being transported back in time.  It’s tricky when you are going back and forth between time periods and characters.  Inevitably, you are drawn more to one story than the other.  This one did a great job of tying the two together so I was invested in both.
  3. Title: The Color Purple, Author: Alice WalkerAbused by her father and then her husband, Celie relied on the love of her sister to get her through. When Nellie goes away and Celie doesn’t hear from her she begins writing letters to God. When her husband brings home his mistress to live with them, Celie finally starts to see herself in a new light.  This is not an easy read.  It’s emotional, sexually explicit and might wake you up in ways that you don’t like. Celie’s perseverance gives a voice to all the women who experience abuse and still manage to stay on their feet.  It exceeded expectations and now I’m anxious to get my hands on the movie.  Set in 1930’s Georgia it’s still relevant and addictingly readable.
  4. Title: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Author: Ernest J. Gaines Jane was a true survivor.  This fictional book, spanning her 110 year life really comes full circle in the end and I would have been happy to spend another 110 with Jane.  Jane was a little girl of 10 or 11 when Lincoln freed the slaves and she left her plantation with a small group hoping to walk their way north from Louisiana.  When something bad happens Jane is left in charge of 3 year old Ned and she must rely on her wits to keep them safe and free.  She eventually comes to raise him like her own son and find both happiness and heartache, never leaving her beloved Louisiana.  Jane is a warrior, a realist, and a trailblazer.
  5. Title: Little Fires Everywhere, Author: Celeste NgShaker Heights is a real place and I love it.  Ng chose to show the Shaker that she grew up in and I think it’s fair, and even though it has changed over the years it does still remain a progressive hotspot with old mansions lining picturesque streets. The Richardson family embodies this perfectly.  I understood and felt for every one of the characters and even when I didn’t like them I understood them.  The story centers around not only the fight over a baby left at a fire station by a distraught mother but also the mysterious Mia.  So many layers to this story and they were all connected by mothers.  I loved this book because it is overflowing with gray area.
  6. Title: The Hate U Give, Author: Angie ThomasThomas 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.  Starr 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.  You will fall in love with Big Mav and Uncle Carlos.  Starr 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.
  7. Title: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Author: Trevor NoahI don’t keep up with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show much since Jon Stewart left, but I have seen Trevor and he’s good.  He’s smart and I love smart guys. Trevor’s honesty and humor about his early life during South African apartheid was shocking while still being entertaining. His mother is black and his father is white.  Reading how he could not walk with his dad to the park or grocery shop with his mother made me so sad.  The memoir ended too soon and I wish it had been longer.  We read this one for our book club and it was universally loved.
  8. Title: A Life in Parts, Author: Bryan CranstonCranston’s dad was an actor and left his three kids when they were young.  Cranston and his brother survived their childhood together, living with relatives, traveling overseas, and taking a motorcycle road trip across America.  Cranston has led a very bold and ambitious life and he pulls no punches.  It started a little slow, but for most of this book his stories made me laugh out loud or have a motherly concern for his wellbeing.  If you are at all interested in reading about the acting life or love Walter White then this will be a good fit for you.
  9. Title: Rules of Civility: A Novel, Author: Amor TowlesThis beauty of a book felt like a classic throwback.  The language, the atmosphere, the characters, the story.  Perfection. Katey was smart, independent, driven, and, ultimately, likeable.  This is a perfect New York City story, circa 1938.
  10. Title: Circling the Sun, Author: Paula McLainBeryl’s English mother couldn’t handle her life in 1920’s Kenya so she moved back to England with her son, leaving Beryl with her father.  Beryl was able to run wild as a child and was accepted by the local native tribe, at least until she was old enough to be sent away to school.  She was attacked by a tiger and lived to tell the tale.  She was fearless with horses and broke every mold a woman trainer could in the 1920’s.  Her unbridled nature led her to questionable relationships and choices, but she always maintained her independence and paid dearly for mistakes.  She was an immensely flawed character, but that made me love her that much more.

If you’ve done your own list please leave a link in the comments so I can check it out.

December 12, 2017 Posted by | lists | 18 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I’m not great at making a list and sticking to it, especially this time of year, but the first two on my list are must reads by the end of the year.  The rest are just me playing catch up with a few series and the holidays are a great time to catch up with old friends 🙂

  1. My Classics Club Spin was Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut.  It’s a short one so it shouldn’t be too hard to fit in one afternoon.
  2. I accepted How To Build a Piano Bench by Ruthi Postow Birch for review and I’m a little slow in getting to it so that’s a priority.
  3. I need to read the third in the Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Spring
  4. so that I can be ready for #4 in February, Hello Stranger.
  5. I want to read the newest Bailey Weggins book by Kate White. Even If It Kills her is the 7th in the series and it’s been 5 long years since Bailey has made and appearance.
  6. The Shimmering Road by Charlie Cates is a follow up to The Gates of Evangeline, which I loved.
  7. I need to catch up with my old friend Lincoln Rhyme in his 13th book, The Burial Hour by Jeffery Deaver.
  8. Same with Lucas Davenport in his 27th outing.  Golden Prey by John Sandford.
  9. Same with my guy Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s Nothing to Lose.  I’m behind in this series but don’t mind taking my time.
  10. And while I’m catching up with my favorite alpha guys I can’t forget local Milan Jacovich.  I love this mystery series set in Cleveland and written by Less Roberts.  A Shoot in Cleveland is the 9th and that would get me halfway through the series.

So, kind of a boring list for all of you but a good focus for me 🙂

Do you have a list of what you want to read this winter or are you winging it like I usually do?

 

November 28, 2017 Posted by | lists | 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Fall Covers

Today the Broke and the Bookish is asking for book covers that scream fall.  I found these on my shelves.  I love fall in Ohio.
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October 10, 2017 Posted by | lists | 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – My Bookish Boyfriends

Today the Broke and the Bookish are asking for our book crushes.
Even before the series premiered on Starz, Jamie from the Outlander series would have been #1 on this list.
If not for the movie, Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings trilogy wouldn’t have made the list.  But it counts because I did read the first book first, right?
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice has also greatly benefitted by the men who have portrayed him onscreen.
 
Home (Myron Bolitar #11)
4. Myron Bolitar and/or Win Lockwood III  from Harlan Coben’s long running series.  Maybe we could alternate date nights?
Deadly Love (Francesca Cahi...
5. It’s an old series, but the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce gave me TWO brothers to crush on, with Calder winning my (and the heroine) in the end.
Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3)Paradise (Second Opportunit...A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmo...Whitney, My Love (Westmorel...
6. Pretty much any hero from the old Judith McNaught romances are worthy to be on this list.  One author whose books I’ve reread most over the years.
The Best Man (Blue Heron, #1)The Perfect Match (Blue Her...Waiting on You (Blue Heron,...
7. I also crush on all the guys in Kristan Higgins’ Blue Heron series.
One for the Money (Stephani...
8. Morelli or Ranger, Ranger or Morelli?  I’d probably take either one in the Stephanie Plum series.  If I wasn’t already happily married that is 😉
The Informationist (Vanessa...
9. Miles Bradford in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series is a stand up (and hot) guy.
Into the Wilderness (Wilder...
10. I loved Nathaniel Bonner or Between-Two-Lives by the Mohawk from Into the Wilderness.
So, who are your literary crushes?

October 3, 2017 Posted by | lists | 14 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Fall TBR

I love to see these lists on other blogs and have wanted to jump in for a while.  Today is the day!  The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly meme so hop over and see what other bloggers are talking about today.

I’m currently reading A BOOK A DAY for my September Challenge (head on over to My 30 Day Challenges to check it out).  I’m reading biography/memoirs and classics mainly from my shelves, so my upcoming TBR pile looks like this.

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This book a day challenge is hard enough so I reserve the right to switch any of these books at any time when the mood strikes 🙂

Here’s what I’ve read so far this month; Love That Boy by Ron Fournier, Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Kate Clifford Lawson, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, The Reluctant Mystic by Nancy Torgorve Clasby, The War of the Worlds by HG Wells, A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston, An Unexpected Life by Debra and Seth Chwast, Winesburg Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill, Let’s Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell, Dryland by Nancy Sterns Bercaw, Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K  Jerome, A Year by The Sea by Joan Anderson, and Herman Hesse: A  Pictorial Biography

September 19, 2017 Posted by | lists | 9 Comments

The Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Originated at Maureen’s Books, but I first saw it at Carol’s Notebook.

I’ve read 31 books this year and I feel pretty good about that.

1 – The Best Book You’ve Read So Far In 2017

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.  I fell in love with Ove and his collection of merry wo(men) around him.  For every trouble he caused those surrounding him, at least one blessing was given out.  Ove was a man with a heart, who didn’t always play well with others.  I think everyone knows an Ove, some of us better than others.

2 – Your Favorite Sequel This Year

Waiting On You by Kristan Higgins, Blue Heron #3.   I love this series set in New York wine country.  The small town is charming, the people are eccentric and the dialogue is snappy.  As with the first two books I laughed out loud many times and was brought to tears at least once.  Higgins is so talented. I can’t wait to read everything she’s written.

3 – A New Release You Haven’t Read But Really Want To

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.  I read his interview in Poets & Writers magazine and am eager to pick it up.

4 – Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half of the Year

Whatever the yearly Harlan Coben release is!

5 – Biggest Disappointment

Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie. I usually love her but this oldie was too dated and stereotypical.

6 – Biggest Surprise

Dream More:Celebrate the Dreamer in You by Dolly Parton.  I’ve never really followed Dolly Parton, but after listening to her narrate her book I’m a fan.

7 – Favorite New Author (Debut Or New To You)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Fantastic debut about something so important going on right now.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

8 – Your New Fictional Crush

I had a little crush on Ove 🙂  He may have been a 59 year old curmudgeon, but I loved him.

9 – A Book That Made You Cry

A Man Called Ove, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

10 – A Book That Made You Happy

Good romances always make me happy and I’ve read several so far this year.  The Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas, When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James, Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins

11 – Your Favorite Book To Movie Adaption That You’ve Seen This Year

A Man Called Ove was well done, subtitles and all.  Although the book and movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were different, I thought they were both well done.

12 – Favorite Book Post You Published This Year

I loved having my first Bookish Wine Party and hope to make it a yearly thing.

13 – The Most Beautiful Book You Have Bought/ Received This Year

Of the books I’ve read I really liked Almost Famous Women

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14 – What Are Some Books That You Need To Read By The End Of The Year

I need to knock a few of my Classics Club list. I’m woefully behind.

 

If you want to have some fun, consider yourself tagged.

July 11, 2017 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, lists | 7 Comments

George Washington’s Birthday

We went to Michigan over the long President’s Day weekend to visit Jason’s family (his mother starts chemo tomorrow for stage four tonsil cancer).  Gage came back with a cold so two days (so far) with mom at home.  Today we did some George Washington activities since it’s his birthday.

I don’t watch a lot of historical films, unless Jason makes me, but there have been a few over the years that have stood out for me because I loved the Presidential portrayal.

I loved Bruce Greenwood as JFK in Thirteen Days.

I thought Bill Murray was a surprisingly good FDR in Hyde Park on Hudson.

I LOVED Robin Williams as Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum.

And, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis is tough to beat as Lincoln in Lincoln.

Is there a President in the movies that stands out for you?

February 22, 2017 Posted by | lists | 6 Comments

My favorite love stories

I grew up reading romances. I started with the teen romances of the 80’s, moved on to Harlequin, and then to the full-fledged romances for big kids.  I earned a degree in English Ed with lots of classic reading for classes so my weekend historical romance reading was relaxing.  Here are a few of the love stories that have stuck with me.

Books

1-Jamie and Claire from the Outlander series.  Although I am woefully behind in the series I love this couple so much.

2-Rochester and Jane. They became my first classic love story and I love them still.  I watched a bunch of the Jane Eyre films a few years ago and Timothy Dalton was my favorite Rochester.

3-Darcy and Elizabeth from Pride & Prejudice and Anne and Wentworth from Persuasion are the two Jane Austen couples I love the most.

4-Almost Heaven (historical) and Paradise (contemporary) are two oldie but goodies from Judith McNaught.  I’ve read all of her books, many multiple times.  I wish she was still writing!

5-I remember reading so many of Jude Deveraux’s historicals as a teen, but A Knight in Shining Armor still stands out for me.

A few honorable mentions – Francesca and Calder from Brenda Joyce’s Deadly series and the authors Susanna Kearsley, Kristan Higgins and Eloisa James are consistently good.

Movies

1-CK Dexter Haven and Tracy Lord from A Philadelphia Story.  I loved the maturity and reality of their relationship.  Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart were superb.

2-Harry and Sally. Loved the movie and Billy and Meg in the lead. When Harry Met Sally remains a favorite.

3-Lucy, Jack, Peter and family all won me over in While You Were Sleeping.

4-Colin, Bridget and Hugh made Bridget Jones’s Diary a treat to watch. That last scene gets me every time 🙂

5-Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable make a memorable couple in the classic It Happened One Night.

 

So tell me.  Who are your favorite couples in books and film?

 

February 14, 2017 Posted by | lists | 14 Comments

2016 Movie Faves & Stats

Movies

I watched 41 movies. That’s way down from 54 last year, probably due to our new 30 Day challenges.

I wrote 2 Book vs. Movie posts (The Blind Side, Still Alice), reviewed 1 of my 100 favorite movies (#29 Serendipity), tried to get a few movie features going but failed due to lack of time and effort, and continued my 5 word movie reviews asking for your participation. Please consider adding your thoughts to these reviews since they count towards money for charity, maybe even yours!

January was the month I saw the most movies with 7.

2016 was my most watched movie year with 13.

Sadly, Hope Floats (1998) was the oldest movie I watched.  I love old movies so I expect this to change next year.

Favorite animated movie – Mr. Peabody and Sherman, 2014

Cutest Couple – Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. in Hope Floats.

I usually list the movie I hated the most, but this year there were 2 movies I hated and they were BOTH Nicholas Sparks movies.  Message in a Bottle and the worst of the worst, The Best of Me.

I always list my most watched actress and this year it was a 5 way tie with 2 movies a piece-Rachel McAdams (Spotlight, Doctor Strange), Sandra Bullock (Minions, Hope Floats), Scarlett Johanssen (Chef, Captain America Civil War), Tilda Swinton (Trainwreck, Doctor Strange), Lake Bell (No Strings Attached, The Secret Life of Pets)

My most watched actor was a 3 way tie with 3 movies a piece – Tom Hardy (Mad Max Fury Road, Child 44, Revenant), Jeremey Renner (Captain America Civil War, The Arrival, Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters), Kevin Hart (Get Hard, Secret Life of Pets, Central Intelligence)

Every year I list my 5 favorite movies of the year, but this year I’m adding a category with just one movie in it. I can’t call it a favorite because it devastated me, but it was the best movie  I saw this year.

Best movie I saw this year

Manchester by the Sea.jpgManchester by the Sea, 2016.  See it.

My 5 faves of the year

1.Spotlight (film) poster.jpgSpotlight, 2015. Worthy Oscar winner.

2.The Big Short teaser poster.jpgThe Big Short, 2015. It’ll make you mad all over again.

3.Chef 2014.jpgChef, 2014. Foodies unite!

4.The Nice Guys poster.pngThe Nice Guys, 2016. It surprises me as much as it surprises you to find this here, but I loved these two and the 70’s vibe.

5.Captain Fantastic poster.jpgCaptain Fantastic, 2016.  Viggo rarely makes a movie that I don’t love.

 

So tell me, what was your favorite movie this year?

December 31, 2016 Posted by | lists, movies | 3 Comments

A year of firsts and a look at BG (Before Gage)

I joined Instagram.  Why would I join yet another time-sucking social media site (I mean really, when does it stop?)?? Well, I was thinking of taking one photo to capture the day for a whole year and then I joined and wanted a bit more focus.  So, it’s my goal to capture a year of firsts. Everyday.  It’ll be a challenge for sure.  You can follow me if you click on my link on the sidebar.

Now onto my other project for the year, one inspired by Kay’s Bookish Nostalgia.  I love her glimpses into her reading past and have been thinking of a way I could steal the idea but make it my own 😉  I think I have it.  I am 5+ year mother.  Due to many things (stay-at-home mom to a kid with medical mysteries and special dietary needs being the biggest one) I remember carefree reading and blogging days from afar.  So, I decided to choose the year Gage was born and revisit it every month.  If January is any indication, I think this will inspire me.

I loved looking back at January 2010, I was such an active blogger! I posted 30 days. That’s right, 30 out of 31 days. I went back and read them all and, if you don’t mind me saying, they were all pretty good.  I had just finished 2009 by reading 130 books and thought this might continue, lol.  I was giving away books monthly, posting quizzes, joining challenges.  I was also getting pregnant, but I didn’t know that yet.  I attended two author events (Beth Hoffman, Tracy Chevalier) and posted two author interviews (Beth Hoffman, Shirley Tallman). I would love to do more author interviews, but probably not this year, unfortunately, they took a lot of time.  I read Garden Spells and fell in love with all thinks Sarah Addison Allen.

My favorite picture from January 2010

b hoffman 009Bonnie (Redlady’s Reading Room), bestselling author Beth Hoffman and me.

Tonight  I met Bonnie from Redlady’s Reading Room for the first time.  We only live about 20 minutes from each other and we decided to get together and meet Beth Hoffman, author of Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt.  Bonnie is a fellow Ohio State grad and we had a lot of fun chatting before we headed to the library for the book discussion and signing.  I have exchanged a few emails with Beth and knew that she was sweet.  However, I think she was even sweeter in person!  She was full of charm and warmth and if you have the chance to meet her on her book tour, take the opportunity!  (tour locales here)  She was truly inspirational. 

I should note that before her discussion she talked to Bonnie and when Bonnie introduced me, Beth said, “Oh, Stacy,  Max’s Mom!”  Well, let’s be honest, I was floored that she remembered to mention him.  How cool is that?! 

Favorite PostMy Reread Project.  I’m not sure why I stopped doing this, but am ready to try again.

…What does this have to do with rereading books?  Well,  what I get out of a book is based on many things, not the least of which is what was going on in my life when I read it.  So, maybe if I read it five years later and I’m happier, sadder, more stressed out, whatever, I might have a completely different opinion of the book.  So, last year I decided to commit to rereading at least one book from my Favorite Books list every year.  Yes, if I only read one a year it will take me 100 years, so it is obviously not a perfect plan, but quite a few of the books on the list I have read more than once already….

Favorite BookSaving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman.  I continue to love and recommend this book!

…Okay, first book of the year and the one I’ll be judging others by since I’m giving it 5 stars.  This book made me cry and laugh and left me with a smile on my face, not something that happens very often.  CeeCee was a charming girl who had led a hard life to date and my heart broke for her.  I loved her and her mistakes were both funny and important, reminding me that she was still just a girl no matter how grown up she sometimes seemed…

Favorite new movie  Avatar 3D.  But I did also post about one of my all-time faves – Pride and Prejudice, the mini-series with Colin Firth.

Why I love it Um, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.  I know there are lots of other great reasons to love this movie, but if you take Colin Firth out of the picture, this is no favorite!  I thought Jennifer Ehle was a great Lizzie.  She had warmth, sparkle, and a quick wit.  The rest of her family was suitably annoying and ridiculous, but in a good way.

Now that I’ve read the book I can truly appreciate how closely this follows Austen classic.  The sets were perfectly lovely and not Hollywood in any way.  There were added scenes to let us see a bit more of Mr. Darcy and that made it easier for me to see him apart from only the times Elizabeth saw him, as was the case in the novel.

Well, the reason I’m reviewing this now is because Jason really, really loves me.  We watched an hour a night for a week.  It was so much fun introducing Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth to him.  He really didn’t get Mr. Darcy’s appeal, especially for the first half of the movie.  I kept telling him it was Colin Firth and that’s all he needed to know, but he still wasn’t convinced.  And I’m still waiting for him to come home with a 5 hour miniseries about the history of the stock market or 100 years of Michigan State basketball.

If you were blogging in January 2010, why not leave a link to your favorite post? I’d be happy to post it here and then we’d all be taking a trip down memory lane?


Nise from Under the Boardwalk chose this post as her favorite.  I looked over my posts of January 2010 and was tickled to see one about book shelves. Only one of the shelves has remained – I stack my library books on the steps in the order of their due date!  

 JoAnn from Lakeside Musing chose this post as her favorite.  After three attempts spaced over 25 years, I’ve finally managed to finish a Virginia Woolf novel. And not only did I finish it, I liked it. I really liked it…

 

 

 

January 5, 2016 Posted by | lists, Photos | , | 9 Comments