Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

A Winner and $ for Charity

First, I realized a few days ago that I never drew a winner for your biography recommendations…even though Diane gave me the most entries (and I’m listening to the third on her list already) it was Heather‘s number that Gage picked!  I’ll be sending you a copy of my favorite book this month 🙂

And thank you for participating in my 5 word movie reviews.  Because of your participation I sent $110 to the Houston Food Bank.

September 9, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday – Otherworldly Classics

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 was inspired when I saw Wendy’s list (Musings of a Bookish Kitty) so decided to do a small tweak on hers.  My love of reading started with romances, but through some exceptional fantasy/sci-fi classics I have come to appreciate the genre.  And in recent years magical realism has been creeping into my reading too.

Top Ten Classics with an Otherworldly Twist. 

Title: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet Series #1), Author: Madeleine L'EngleA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  I remember loving this one as a kid and need a re-read before the movie comes out later this year.

Title: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia Series #2), Author: C. S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis. Another one I loved as a kid.  I admit I never made it through the whole series, but I’d like to try with Gage.

Title: Watership Down, Author: Richard AdamsWatership Down by Richard Adams.  This story completely from the perspective of rabbits is a gem that shouldn’t be missed.

Title: Ender's Game (Ender Quintet Series #1), Author: Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another one I can’t wait to share with Gage someday soon.  Complex and exciting.

Title: Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings Trilogy #1 - Movie Art Cover), Author: J. R. R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Loved it when I read it in college and loved the movie just as much.

Title: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #1), Author: Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.  Such a comic treat the first time you read it.

Title: The Time Machine: H.G. Wells' Groundbreaking Time Travel Tale, Classic Science Fiction, Author: H. G. WellsThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells.  Surprisingly gripping for such a slim novel.

Title: Beloved, Author: Toni MorrisonBeloved by Toni Morrison.  This story covers the aftermath of the Civil War.  The fact that there’s a ghost only adds to its mystique.

Title: The House of the Spirits, Author: Isabel AllendeThe House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.  My first foray into magical realism.

Title: Like Water for Chocolate, Author: Laura EsquivelLike Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  Sexy and magical.  Plus, there’s chocolate!

Have I missed one of your favorites?  Let me know 🙂

 

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 15 Comments

The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley

Title: The Buried Book, Author: D. M. PulleyThe Buried Book. Finished 7-26-17, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2016

When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he’s left on his uncle’s farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible.

It’s 1952, and Jasper isn’t allowed to ask questions or make a fuss. He’s lucky to even have a home and must keep his mouth shut and his ears open to stay in his uncle’s good graces. No one knows where his mother went or whether she’s coming back. Desperate to see her again, he must take matters into his own hands. From the farm, he embarks on a treacherous search that will take him to the squalid hideaways of Detroit and back again, through tawdry taverns, peep shows, and gambling houses.

As he’s drawn deeper into an adult world of corruption, scandal, and murder, Jasper uncovers the shocking past still chasing his mother—and now it’s chasing him too.  from Goodreads

Unabridged audio read by Luke Daniels. 12 hours 1 minute.

Poor Jasper has been abandoned by both his alcoholic mom and dazed father and he’s left at the doorstep of his uncle out in the country. Life on the farm with his aunt, uncle and cousin is hard, but full of support.  Jasper has a good life but cannot let go of the memory of his mother. He tries to find her, but falls into one dangerous predicament after another.  Jasper is a tough kid and a smart 9 year old.

I liked the slow moving story set in 1950’s Michigan.  It has a real sense of place and the mystery of Jasper’s mother moved the story along until the shocking, but appropriate end.  I liked this second book by local Cleveland author, D.M. Pulley.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Marrying WinterborneMarrying Winterborne. Finished 7-17-17, 4.25/5, historical romance, pub. 2016

The Ravenels #2  (1-Cold-Hearted Rake)

Savage ambition has brought common-born Rhys Winterborne vast wealth and success. In business and beyond, Rhys gets exactly what he wants. And from the moment he meets the shy, aristocratic Lady Helen Ravenel, he is determined to possess her. If he must take her virtue to ensure she marries him, so much the better…

Helen has had little contact with the glittering, cynical world of London society. Yet Rhys’s determined seduction awakens an intense mutual passion. Helen’s gentle upbringing belies a stubborn conviction that only she can tame her unruly husband. As Rhys’s enemies conspire against them, Helen must trust him with her darkest secret. The risks are unthinkable… the reward, a lifetime of incomparable bliss. And it all begins with…    from Goodreads

We met the Ravenel sisters and Rhys in the first book of the series so the pairing was no surprise, but the thing that kept them apart, briefly, was a good twist. Rarely do you find such a distasteful character in a romance novel.  This second book introduces some new characters, but for the most part really fleshes out the ones we already know.  I would have liked to see a bit more of Devon and Kathleen from the first book, but there was so much going on that it’s easy to forgive.  Strong, independent female characters leave no shortage of future match ups for the series.

I liked this one more than the first and am looking forward to the third book.  I don’t want to rush too much since I know the next one won’t be out until next year.

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Sundays with Gage – Learning about Artists

As a summer daily project I started doing themed mini-lessons with Gage.  We read a book about a particular subject and then he draws a picture from the book.  This, of course, serves two purposes and both have worked very well.  We hang up each day’s picture in the kitchen until the end of the week when we take them all down and put them in a folder with labels.  He is so proud of this book of his art and it’s nice to see the growth of his artistic abilities.

My favorite so far was the week and a half we spent reading about artists. I checked out the picture books about painters at the library and found seven that worked.  artbooks

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel.  Mary Cassatt by Mike Venezia. An Eye for Color: The Story of Joseph Albers by Natasha Wing.  Monet Paints a Day by Julie Danneberg.  The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh & Paul Gauguin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin.  The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinksy’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock.  Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe.

Both The Noisy Paint Box and Radiant Child are Caldecott books and deservedly so. They were my favorites, along with An Eye for Color.

If you follow me on Facebook you saw what happened at the end of the week when I set him up with some paints and an easel.

IMG_0257He painted a portrait of me 🙂  I think playing with proportion might be his thing, lol.

As the grand finale I planned a trip with him to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  I checked to see which artists we would find in the museum and then printed all 9 paintings and told him what room to find them.  He had to find them on the museum map, only two rooms so it wasn’t hard, and then get us there and find the pieces.  I knew he would just race around so I told him beforehand that I had to take his picture with each one. That slowed the racing only marginally.

We did walk around a bit after and he loved the video art.  So much so that Friday after his camp at the Botanical Garden across the street he asked if we could go back and see it!

IMG_0385I’m feeling like our first art study was a success!

Other topics we’ve covered are feelings, Disney (the week before our trip to Disney), and jobs.  Next time I’ll show you his art book 🙂

If you have any good ideas for good themes please share!

 

July 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Sundays with Gage – First plane ride and Disney!

I have resisted taking a long vacation with Gage, one that required an airplane and less access to food from home,  but when Jason had to go to Orlando for work last week I couldn’t not take advantage of the opportunity.  Gage is sensitive to loud sounds and I was afraid that the airplane might be too loud.  It wasn’t.  I was afraid of trusting restaurants to handle Gage’s diet.  I was right on that one.  But, in the end we had a fantastic family vacation and Gage gave Florida two thumbs up, which according to him means, “we’re coming back soon.”  We’ll see.

disney2We flew Frontier for the first time on the way there and except for the dirty snacks all over the floor, it was fine.  Gage loved the flight!

We stayed at Coronado Springs Resort in Animal Kingdom at Disney World and it was really nice.  I was under the impression from different people that Disney did a good job accommodating special diets and I guess they did, but to a bare minimum.

disney3We ordered at their restaurant and when they brought out his chicken, potatoes and grapes there was a big smear of melted cheese on the plate!  These are the things that keep moms like me on the crazy side when it comes to food.  He always found something to eat in the 2.5 days we were there, but I have no doubt there was gluten in there somewhere.  We saw behaviors that we haven’t seen in years, but better gluten than dairy since that would have sent us to the hospital.  So, the silver lining was that there were no hospital visits 🙂

Two tips that I had from people before we went.  One, we rented a stroller and it was a lifesaver.  Gage is 6 and I donated our strollers 2 summers ago, so I was a bit skeptical of this advice at first, but it came from mamas who had kids older than Gage. Without a doubt he would not have lasted 9 hours at the park had we not had the stroller.  It also saved us from having to drag or tell him to hurry all day.  The second tip was to get the fast pass.  We didn’t, BUT we did wait 20 minutes when we got there to get the disability pass, which they give to kids on the spectrum.  So, when we went to a ride and there was an hour wait, we signed in and came back in 50 minutes to ride.  Essentially, we still had to wait (minus 10 minutes) but we could go do other things instead of waiting in line.  It was free and we only had to sign up the first day and it was good for a month at all the Disney parks.  It’s a great feature.

disney4 disney1We spent our first day at Magic Kingdom and we all loved it.  It was hot and busy, but it was Memorial Day so that was to be expected.  The second day we spent at Animal Kingdom and I was miserable.  It was 95 and a worker there told me that because of the greenhouse effect of all the trees the park was often 10 degrees hotter.  I was dripping sweat within about 15 minutes. Gage barely made the height requirement for Expedition Everest, but he wanted to ride the big coaster and he did twice – with dad.

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We then moved on to the Hyatt Regency where Jason had a conference.  Gage and I got to spend a few days hanging out together in Orlando.  We didn’t venture all that far, but had fun.  When Jason was finished on Friday we headed to Sea World and had a great time.  This was my favorite park.  The crowds weren’t too bad and the weather was more reasonable for this Ohio gal.  Gage insisted on riding this water ride four times, twice with Jason and twice with me.  He claimed he loved it.  But look a little closer at his face the third time he rode it…disney6  disney7Look at that face! He looks like he’s being tortured! Jason looks like he’s having fun at least 🙂 Makes me laugh a little every time because I know that he kept begging to ride it.  We had a fun day there, even if it got cut short by rain.

The trip was a success, but the food was a problem, so I’ll be planning a little better next time.  I’m so glad that we were able to do it.  And I got to be the parent that told his kid’s teachers that he was missing the last two days of kindergarten to go to Disney World 🙂

 

 

 

June 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 17 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

Postcarding my wall, it gets political

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Lots of cards this week!

The train postcard is from Jessica in Great Britain and had a gorgeous train stamp with Union Jack that you can only get at the National Railway Museum in York. Very cool.

The van postcard is from Matthias in Germany who loves to goes to the movies.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy is his favorite. Can’t disagree with him there.

The koala postcard comes from Pamela in Australia who sys she will send a train postcard later if she finds one 🙂

The cute kitten came from Doris in Germany and this is what she wrote, “This postcard says ‘The biggest power in the world is the Pianissimo!’ Hopefully some presidents in the world will realize that!  Well, at least this postcard is still allowed to come into your country without being asked for passwords…  Hope for peaceful times for all countries, best wishes.”  Doris and I continued to exchange a few political private messages online. She encouraged me to stand up, protest any way I can, because the rest of the world is watching.  Powerful stuff coming from a stranger.

The one with the woman in a field is from Taiwan. Jewel told me about the special teas thy make there, oolong being one of my favorites.

The pretty mountain view with water came from Joey in Western Norway.  A favorite book of hers is I Heard the Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven.


I added the van to my window that started out as a miscellaneous collection of cards that I liked.  It turned out the right side is now the graphic side since I had so many.

I’m not putting up every card I receive. Of those six from last week I only added the van and the train and cat went to Gage’s collection.  The rest of the cards are in the box on top of the trunk.

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February 24, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Postcarding

I’ve written about my love affair with Postcrossing before (you can do a search if you want to see my old posts) but now I may have gone a step too far.  In October we painted four rooms that had previously been covered with wallpaper.  All rooms look great, BUT our front room remained bare because I had not decided what to do with it. The color is okay, but I decided to get rid of the blinds and curtains so it’s been plain Jane ever since.  I came up with an idea for Gage to display his train postcards in his bedroom and made the mistake of checking out Pinterest.  Well, I decided to use my favorite postcards to accent our front room.  It’s been fun.

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This is the corner where I’ve grouped food and books and movies.  I’ll reveal other spots later.  So, now that I’m obsessed with getting more postcards I’m writing as many as I can (17) in hopes of getting more creative on my walls 🙂  I received three this week, only one for me but it will be added to this display.

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Both cats wanted to be involved.  That’s big boy Razzi up top and little Sammi looking right at you.

The beautiful bookshelves came from Annika in Stockholm, Sweden,  She takes the pictures herself and has them printed as postcards.  Love it!

The white postcard with the train on it came from an 4th grade class in Taiwan. Each of the kids take turns writing postcards. Ours came from Danny and he had excellent handwriting.

The other train postcard came from Alan, a retired teacher in France.

Come back next week to see another wall and postcards I’ve been lucky enough to receive.

February 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Film Friday

I have been a little out of the loop movie-wise but I can always count on the Oscars to help steer me toward wonderful films.  Let’s take a look at the nominees in the big categories.

Best Picture

Arrival (loved it)

Fences

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land (liked it, but had some problem spots)

Lion

Manchester by the Sea (tore me apart but what a great movie)

Moonlight

Opinion – the three I’ve seen are all worthy.

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

Ruth Negga (Loving)

Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Emma Stone ( La La Land) (she really carried the movie)

Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Opinion – I’ve only seen one performance and she was fantastic

Best Actor

Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) (incredible performance)

Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)

Ryan Gosling (La La Land) (good lead)

Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic) (he kills it every time and this was no different)

Denzel Washington (Fences)

Opinion – Personally I’d choose Casey or Viggo but I know La La is getting all the love)

 

So, tell me what you think about the ones that you’ve seen and maybe I can get to them before the Oscars!

 

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments