Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

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

Winner and a 2014 reading plan

I am late getting a winner posted for the $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.  Gage stayed home from school today since he’s a little sick and he helped me draw a name from his fireman’s hat.

winnerwinner2winner3 In case you can’t read the name in the second picture, it’s

Hannah!

Thank you all for taking the time to visit my old posts.  I wonder if the top posts will change in the next year?

Last year I tried to read from a stack of books I already had on my shelves that were favorites of other bloggers.  This year I decided that I don’t need to discover any new fiction authors (outside of my one book from She Reads a month).  I want to rediscover the authors I already love and take the time to read their backlist or newest hardcover.  Every year I fall in love with a handful of authors and before I can read more from them I’m moving on to the next thing.

A few authors I’ve only read one book from but want more!  Jennifer Donnelly, Tana French, Sarah Jio, Kristin Hannah, Susanna Kearsley, Leah Stewart, JojoMoyes…

A few authors I have read all their books and always look forward to the latest.  Harlan Coben, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sarah Addison Allen, Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series…

A few favorite authors I usually love and want to read everything they’ve written.  Anne Tyler, Anita Shreve, Greg Iles, Kate White, Deborah Smith, Elizabeth Berg, Alice Hoffman, Dean Koontz, Stephen King…

This is not an exhaustive list but a good starting point.  I have a year of great reading ahead of me!

January 15, 2014 Posted by | lists | 16 Comments

2013 Book and Movie Favorites and Stats

Books

I read 56 books this year (that’s one more than last year!)  Here they are by the numbers-

Fiction 42, Non-fiction 14

Female authors 35, Male authors 21

Series books- continuing series 6, new series 4 (I only plan to continue one, the Louise Penny series)

Oldest book read? Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit published in 1975

Most read author? Harlan Coben with 3

My 5 favorite books this year

The Winter SeaThe Winter Sea was a romantic delight from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read more!

The Husband's SecretThe Husband’s Secret had an excellent cast of characters with strong storylines that all came together in a powerful conclusion.

A Gracious Plenty: A NovelA Gracious Plenty had a gritty main character and a cemetery full of dead people and somehow  managed to be beautiful.

The Uncommon Reader: A NovellaThe Uncommon Reader was a light escape with the Queen and her books. Hard to resist.

The Girl You Left BehindThe Girl You Left Behind was a surprise to me because I rarely read wartime books and I found this one addicting.  I want more.

Movies

I watched 62 new to me movies this year (that’s up 13 from last year).  I wrote about 3 of my favorite 100 movies (#7 There’s Something About Mary, #46 Chocolat, #62 Yankee Doodle Dandy) and did one Book vs. Movie post (Ender’s Game – still time to vote in the the poll), wrote a few Friday film talks and continued my 5 word movie reviews asking for your participation and help for charity.

2013 was my most watched movie year with 18.

The oldest movie I watched was A Touch of Evil, 1958

Most watched actress- Sandra Bullock with 3 films (Gravity, The Heat, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

Most watched actor was a 3 way tie with 3 movies each- Woody Harrelson (Catching Fire, Now You See Me, Game Change)

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street, Boys on the Side)

 Ben Kingsley (Ender’s Game, Searching for Bobby Fisher, Iron Man 3)

My 5 favorite movies this year-

Catching-Fire poster.jpgThe Hunger Games:Catching Fire – I love Katniss even though I’ve never read the books (for shame!)  A

Prisoners2013Poster.jpgPrisoners – A gritty thriller that makes you think.  A

Argo – Another thriller, but this one political and psuedo-true!    A-

Stingredfordnewman.jpgThe Sting – There was not a boring minute in this con film with two handsome legends.     A-

42 film poster.jpg42 – An overlooked baseball movie that hit all the right bases.       A-

December 31, 2013 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, lists, movies | , | 46 Comments

My 5 year Blogiversary with a chance to win a favorite book!

I can hardly believe I’ve been blogging for 5 years!  I started slow, got involved with the community through memes, challenges and events, and then slowed down again these past few months have really slowed down due to home demands.  This slowdown will continue for the next few months, but I will still be here, reading, writing, quizzing and visiting your blogs.  Only on a more laid back schedule!

It’s really the community that makes it worth the time and effort.  There have been one or two times in the past year when I’ve considered giving it up because I only have so much time in the day and while I love all of you, you aren’t the ones giving me hugs and kisses at night.  But I would miss it so here I am 5 years in and looking forward to 5 more.

I’ll be going some Best-of-the Best posts this weeks with giveaways.  For the first one I thought I’d compare my favorite lists over the years.  The only big difference I see is that I read less romances these days.  I bolded my 5 favorites from these lists (at least my favorite 5 today :)).  My 5 faves from the last 5 years.

GIVEAWAY-Tell me what your favorite is from these lists and you’ll be entered to win a favorite pick of your choice!  Make sure you leave your email too.  I’ll draw a winner on Saturday.  Look for more giveaways this week!

When I started on January 7, 2008 these were the books I listed as favorites from the year before…

the 5 Prey novels by John Sandford (Broken, Chosen, Mortal, Naked, Hidden)

Natural Born Lover by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling

Sophie Metropolis by Tori Carrington

A year later and my 2008 list looked like this…

On Writing by Stephen King

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver

Splendor by Brenda Joyce

Fear & Trembling by Amelie Nothomb

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Here are my 2009 favorites

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Watchers by Dean Koontz

Joy School by Elizabeth Berg

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

My 2010 faves may be my favorite of the lists…

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

2011 had more great reading

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Roots by Alex Haley

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigani

Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Live Wire by Harlan Coben

The Missing Ink by Karen Olson

Buried Prey by John Sandford

A Room with a View by EM Forster

Heart Sick by Chelsea Cain

And finally last year’s  list

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

In the Woods by Tana French

It by Stephen King

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Thank you all for being such great reading buddies these past years and always steering my to awesome books I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | FREE, lists | | 44 Comments

Best Fathers in Film

It’s the weekend to celebrate fathers so I thought I’d share my favorite dads on the big screen and hope you’ll share yours in the comments (or write your own post and I’ll link it to this one).  And yes, I did cheat with #6, but it’s my list so you’ll have to live with it 🙂

#1 Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)  I don’t think too many people will disagree that this widower was evrything a father should be.  He loved his children and wanted to instill good values.  He didn’t just tell his kids how to be a good human being, he showed them in everything he did.  He wasn’t perfect, but as close as you can get.

#2 George Banks (Father of the Bride)  I have a soft spot for poor George.  He’s trying to come to terms with his little girl all grown up and ready to marry and his love for her is so obvious.  Every girl wants a dad who loves her so much.

#3 Daniel (Crash) Who didn’t fall in love with this dad who played a game with his daughter at night to make her feel safe in a city that wasn’t.  His devotion to her was tear worthy.

#4 Chris Gardner (Pursuit of Happyness) You don’t need a home or money to have the most important thing in life, the love of a parent struggling to do right.

#5 Richard Hoover (Little Miss Sunshine) Putting his daughter’s dream first, no matter the circumstances or motivations, makes this dad an easy pick.

#6 Leon (The Professional) Okay, so this assassin wasn’t really Mathilda’s dad, but he was better than her dad.  He was willing to protect her life with his own.

#7 Daniel (Love Actually) A stepdad becomes sole provider when his wife dies and his grace and humor win the boy, and us, over.

#8 Furious Styles (Boyz ‘N the Hood) Furious is trying to keep his son on the straight and narrow in a neighborhood that can be anything but.  I loved his devotion to raising his son, and any other boy, well.

So tell me, who are your favorite movie dads?

June 15, 2012 Posted by | lists, movies | , , | 19 Comments

My 2011 Book and Movie Favorites

I read 76 books this year and these are my favorites (only 2 of them were published this year)…

Cover ImageGood Grief by Lolly WinstonCover ImageRoots by Alex Hailey

The Chosen OneThe Chosen One by Carol Lynch WilliamsBig Stone GapBig Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

Husband and WifeHusband and Wife by Leah StewartLive Wire (Myron Bolitar Series #10) by Harlan Coben: Book CoverLive Wire by Harlan Coben

The Missing Ink (Tattoo Shop Series #1)The Missing Ink by Karen OlsonBuried Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #21)Buried Prey by John Sandford

A Room with a View and Howards EndA Room With a View by EM ForsterHeartsick (Gretchen Lowell Series #1) by Chelsea Cain: Book CoverHeart Sick by Chelsea Cain

 

I watched 44 movies this year and these are the ones I feel good about recommending…

Bridesmaids (2011) A

The Help (2011) A

Sherlock Holmes:A Game of Shadows (2011) A-

Horrible Bosses (2011) B+

Gidget (1959) B+

Inside Man (2006) B+

Holes (2003) B+

Definitely, Maybe (2008) B+

Desk Set (1957) B+

Strangers on a Train (1951) B+

The Kids Are All Right (2010) B+

In April I asked that you all participate in my 5 word reviews by adding 5 words of your own.  For each review posted I would contribute $1 to charity.  When we reach $100 the person who contributed the most reviews would get to choose the charity.  Well, we are up to $99 and I’d like to get that check out!  So, please contribute your reviews (list here).  Since I’ve still got the holiday spirit I’ll keep contributing $1 for a week, even if we go over $100.

December 29, 2011 Posted by | lists | , , | 15 Comments

My favorite high school movies

I read Carrie this week and it got me thinking about some of my favorite high school movies.  As a teen in the 80’s that decade is well-represented.

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)  I know this one is always showing up on this blog, but I can’t help it.  Here’s the post about why I love it so much.

2. Sixteen Candles (1984)  This one actually gets better with every viewing.  That whole movie is full of teen insecurity.  Here’s the post about why I love it so much.

3. the Harry Potter movies (2001-2011)  Can you imagine attending Hogwarts?  I think the fact that we all can proves how spectacular this series is.  While I liked the books better, each movie has gotten better and now I love the movies too.  I think The Goblet of Fire (2005) was my favorite onscreen.

4. Grease (1978) I can sing every song in this musical.  I had a hard time believing that any of the cast was young enough to be in high school, but it was great fun anyway.

5. Mean Girls (2004) This is a great movie about, what else, how mean teen girls can be to each other.  This is probably the last time I actually enjoyed watching Lindsay Lohan onscreen.

6. The Karate Kid (1984) I love this story of the new kid on the block who did nothing wrong but talk to the wrong girl.  He overcame bullying by beating them at their own game.

7. Pretty in Pink (1986) Aw, Duckie.  Who didn’t love Duckie in this love story about a ‘richie’ falling for a poor girl.  Their prom certainly beats the one Carrie had!

8. Dead Poet’s Society (1989) Teaching boys raised to appreciate their priveleged status a different way to look at life is at the heart of this movie that requires at least one tissue.

9. Bring It On (2000) Do not ask me why I love this cheesy movie because I do not know.  I was not a cheerleader nor did I ever have a desire to be. It’s a mystery, but I really liked it.

10. Heathers (1989) I haven’t seen this one in forever and really need to watch it again.  I remember the bitchiness and the angst and the wit.  Loved it.

11. Election (1999) This dark comedy was a great story about an overachiever going too far and her teacher going even further.  Great stuff.

12. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) I didn’t fall in love when I saw this the first time in high school, but each viewing makes me appreciate it more.

July 15, 2011 Posted by | lists, movies | | 11 Comments