Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Sundays with Gage – And birthday makes 4!

October 19, 201020112012bdcake12013

4th birthday 34th birthday2014!

As I suspected it might be, Gage’s first big birthday party was a lovely chaotic few hours.  I am so thankful that Gage has friends who want to celebrate with him.  We had 14 kids between 3-5 and they were great. I planned the party myself and I learned a lot for next time, lol.  Here’s what we did.

IMG_0932We put up our bounce house in the family room and Gage welcomed the kids by taking them there first thing.  It got crazy so I put Jason in charge ;)  Lesson learned-need lots of alternative activities close by for the kids who are waiting.

balloons 2Robert the Rogue (he came sans pirate gear) made awesome balloon animals for all the kids.  Lesson learned-definitely worth the money since I really considered this the big part of their take home favors.

pumpkinsThen the kids headed down to the basement to decorate their own little pumpkins.  Lesson learned-needed someone helping the kids the whole time, more supervision.

dance partyStill in the basement we turned out the lights and turned on the disco ball and music. I didn’t really get any good pics of this but Gage will tell you that this was his favorite part of the party.  There was a box of noisemakers for them to choose from and keep but I don’t think I made that clear.  Lesson learned-if you don’t want a lot of extra noisemakers in your house make sure that you pass them out to the kids with instructions to take them home!

 

IMG_0957Headed back upstairs and Robert the Rogue did a short magic show.  Gage missed some of this by having a mini-meltdown in the kitchen but he made a pretty quick recovery.  Lesson learned-Robert earned his money.

IMG_0961Cake time! Everything we served was gluten free-dairy free. This cake was made by a vegan bakery and we served almond ice cream.  Gage ate neither deciding instead to eat as many grapes and pretzels that he could get his hands on.  Lesson learned-So many things I wish I could have done better here, but my biggest problem was not taking a deep breath and actually making sure all of the food and drinks got to all of the kids.  Parents started chatting and lots of food got left on the island.

 

lilyIt was time for his friends to go and I couldn’t get a smile from Gage in any of these pics, not even with his best bud Lily.  Lesson learned-Gage likes parties and friends and we should have more of both in our house!

It was a great day and I think a good time was had by the kids.  All 14 of them and their parents ;)   As for me, the last guest who came by for Gage’s birthday left at 10 pm.  Needless to say I was happily exhausted.

Can you believe my guy is 4?!?!  If you want Gage to take up a few more minutes of your time you can read all about his entry into the world here.

October 26, 2014 Posted by | Gage | Leave a comment

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike Series #1)The Cuckoo’s Calling. Finished audio 10-10-14, rating 4.5/5, pub. 2013

Unabridged audio read by Robert Glenister. 16 hours.

Book 1 of the Cormoran Strike series.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

from Goodreads

Like most readers of Harry Potter, I am a JK Rowling fan, but unlike some I wasn’t too keen on reading her adult books.  I think I just wanted her to live in my Hogwarts bubble and that would have been a shame.  After reading mixed reviews of her first book The Casual Vacancy I decided to skip it, but when I started seeing the reviews for this one I knew I’d have to give her a post Harry Potter chance to win me over again.  And she did.  I loved the start of this new series.

Strike is a smart but struggling private investigator in London who has money and girl problems.  He hires a new temp, Robin, and manages a new client, an old childhood acquaintance, so things are looking up.  The only problem is that he has to prove the infamous suicide felt ’round the world wasn’t a suicide at all.  As far as mysteries go this was solid with lots of characters and potential suspects.  I didn’t know for sure what would happen at the end although I had a sneaking suspicion every now and then.

What sets this apart from others in this genre is the flawed and solid character of Strike.  He’s a mess but an honest and earnest one.  While his fledgling business shows his shortcomings, the way he treats people and his intelligence made me love him.  I am excited to see what’s in store for Strike and his not-so-temp Robin in the next book. I already have it on hold at the library.

I loved the narration by Robert Glenister. He became Strike for me so it looks like I’ll be going the audio route for the series.

Checked this one out of the library.

October 23, 2014 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 8 Comments

Bestseller to Box Office Quiz

quizSo many great books have become movies so far this year.  Let’s see wht you can figure out from Goodreads description of the book – no cheating!

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize – you only need one correct answer to be eligible for a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section by Tuesday afternoon.

1. Is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. 

2. Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

3. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.   Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.  

4. On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. 

5. The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.  Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together.

6. Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?  Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

7. Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training.

8. In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. 

9. New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake, orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.  Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.

10. St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

 

October 22, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | | Leave a comment

Read-a-thon Winners!

Sorry I’m late in announcing these, balloon decorating fest til 12 when I couldn’t do anything but fall into bed!  And the winners of my Beloved Cover mini-challenge are…

Debbie Chute -you have won $15 to spend at Book Depository!  Congratulations!

Jamie (Valia’s Page Turner) -you have won $10 to spend at the Book Depository! Congratulations!

Thank you all for participating. I have quizzes like this every Wednesday for fun and prizes :)

October 19, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Beloved Books Mini-challenge

Welcome Read-a-Thon peeps!  I hope you’re all having a fun day so far.  This is my only participation this time around because I am knee-deep in birthday party preparations for my son who turns 4 tomorrow.  When I do participate though I always love the mini-challenges and since I’m cleaning up lots of books today I thought I’d see how many of these picture books you could recognize.  I only need the title.  Every answer that you get correct you’ll get your name thrown into the hat, the more you know the more entries you receive to win $15 at the Book Depository.  I’ll periodically hide your comments so you won’t be tempted to cheat ;)  And no google searches.

I’m also going to encourage you to go and choose some picture books (for kids or adults) from your own home and take a picture.  Cover the titles best you can, leave a link so I and anyone else who wants to can visit and guess.  If you do this your name will be thrown into a separate hat for $10 at the Book Depository.  And why not take a few minutes and read a few?

You can play both ways and be entered to win both.  Open internationally.

I’ll be drawing for a winner  during hour 15.  Good luck :)

 

kids

 

Guess How Much I Love You-McBratney

Llama Llama Red Pajama-Dewdney

The Three Pigs-Wiesner

Harry the Dirty Dog-Zion

Green Eggs and Ham-Dr.Seuss

Amimalia-Base

Where the Wild Things Are-Sendak

Olivia-Falconer

The Very Busy Spider-Carle

Harold and the Purple Crayon- Johnson

October 18, 2014 Posted by | Read-a-Thon | | 89 Comments

Updates & a giveaway winner

Things have been a little crazy around here and the blog (and blog visiting) has gone by the wayside.  My birthday was last week and Jason took me away for a night, our 16 year anniversary is Friday, and Gage is turning 4 on Saunday!  This is his first year having a friend party and like a newbie I worried about renting a place and having no kids show up.  sigh.  So, I foolishly decided to have it at our house.  Then they ripped off our deck and won’t put it back on until someone else comes and takes a look at something.  Next Wednesday. Ok, no deck, it’ll be chilly no big deal (except for the hideous looking cavernous space right outside the biggest door/window in the house).  Remember how I was worried no one would show up?  We’re up to 11 kid rsvps plus parents. That’s 11 3-5 year olds to entertain for 2 hours.  Plus I did invite a few other people who work with Gage.  Bah! Anyway, as I sit typing this I am really thinking about how much needs to get done before Sunday.  But I do love a party :)

I need to get a few things off my to-do list.

I promised a prize for a quiz a few weeks ago and I have a winner. Both Hannah and Nise got perfect scores (no surprise there!)  and Gage drew a name….Hannah!  There’s no photo evidence because I’m having technical difficulties (of course!).  I will be mailing off her surprise gift from the Library of Congress soon (soon means after the party).

I made a quiz this morning, but it’s for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon this weekend.  You still have time to sign-up!  My quiz will be hour 11 (6pm EST) if you want to come back and take a look.

You may see me around this week here or elsewhere on the blogs but if not don’t take it personally. It’s been a long time since we had a party here and I’m probably just freaking out :)

 

October 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Book vs. Movie – Gone Girl

This is semi-regular feature where we can talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the book in January 2013 (post here) and watched the movie last Friday, the day it came out.  Let’s break down how they compare.

*This is as spoiler free as possible!!!

The Story/Plot  Nick and Amy meet in New York and fall in love.  When the money gets tight and Nick’s mom gets sick they move to Missouri.  One or both of them turns into a sociopath and the paparazzi cameras are rolling.  I think both the movie and book do an excellent job of telling the story of this couple and the crumbling facade of their marriage.     Thumbs Up-Tie

The Visual  The book is dark and the movie was also dark, really at times it felt like the X-Files and you needed a flashlight.  I don’t really feel that the movie added anything visually to the book.  There’s no real reason to see it on the big screen unless you just can’t wait to spent more time with Nick and Amy.  To me, the descriptions in the book were just as effective in creating a visual image.     Thumbs Up-Tie

Characters vs. Actors   I think Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike became Nick and Amy.  Excellent choices and great acting (at least I hope it was acting!).  I love Neil Patrick Harris but he was not exactly who I pictured as Desi.  Margo, Nick’s sister was played by a new actress to me, Carrie Coon and I thought she did a great job.  I know people are complaining about a character missing, but I really wasn’t bothered by the minor exclusion.   Thumbs Up-Tie

The Ending  Up until this point I think both book and movie were on equal footing.  In the book, the ending packed a punch for me.  I was upset.  In the movie, the ‘ending’ went on so long with so many scene cuts that I just wanted it to figure out what it wanted to say and to do it.  For me, it was a weak. It did change just enough to make the ending different while still being the same in spirit. If that makes any sense.     Thumbs Up-Book

And the winner is…the Book!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

October 9, 2014 Posted by | Books vs. Movie, movies | , | 15 Comments

Scandal on Rincon Hill by Shirley Tallman

Scandal on Rincon Hill (Sarah Woolson Series #4)Scandal on Rincon Hill. Finished 10-5-14, rating 3.75/5, mystery, 340 pages, pub. 2010

Book #4 of the Sarah Woolson mystery series (Book 1) (Book 2) (Book 3)

A body is found just blocks from attorney Sarah Woolson’s home on Rincon Hill. Sarah is on the case, but 19th-century San Francisco is soon thrown into a state of panic as a gruesome crime spree begins to take hold of the city.

from Goodreads

Sarah, the only female attorney in San Francisco in 1881 and one of two in all of California, has opened up shop but has a hard time making ends meet.  No one is in a hurry to hire a woman lawyer even though she has helped solve several big name cases.  Her heart is always willing to take on the oppressed and marginalized and she has the smarts and support to do it.  She still lives in the family home and her father and three brothers are all successful in their chosen fields. Only her mother still believes she’ll be able to see Sarah married off someday and in this book there is a marriage proposal so she’s not far off.

Brielle, a young mistress is thrown out of her home after she has a baby and has to turn to a madam to make ends meet.  Two men from China, only in town for days, are railroaded for two murders.  Sarah takes on both cases with little hope of successful outcomes for either.  She might just manage to keep her law practice afloat, but she’ll have to rely on old friends for help.

I like this series. Sarah is a focused and unconventional and Tallman is able to give me real sense of life in 1881 San Fransisco.  If you like historical mysteries and female leads you will probably like this series.

This was from my own library.

October 9, 2014 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 6 Comments

Stephen King Quiz – guessing closed

quizLast week we tried Shakespeare quotes so I thought Stephen King would be the next best choice :)   Good luck matching the quotes from the novels to the title. Each is used only one time.

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize – you only need one correct answer to be eligible for a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your guesses in the comment section by Tuesday afternoon.

Titles-Carrie, It, Under the Dome, The Shining, The Green Mile, Misery, Hearts in Atlantis, 11/22/63, Pet Sematary, Full Dark No Stars, The Stand, Cujo

1.“High school isn’t a very important place. When you’re going you think it’s a big deal, but when it’s over nobody really thinks it was great unless they’re beered up.”  -Carrie

2.“’Yeah, but what if you went back and killed your own grandfather?'”  -11/22/63

3. “We all float down here!”  -It

4. “Sometimes dead is better”  -Pet Sematary

5. “Close your eyes and click your heals three times…because there’s no place like Dome.”  -Under the Dome

6. “I believe most people are essentially good. I know that I am. It’s you I’m not entirely sure of.”  -Full Dark No Stars

7. “Wendy? Darling? Light, of my life. I’m not gonna hurt ya. I’m just going to bash your brains in.”  -The Shining

8. “The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there…and still on your feet.”  -The Stand

9.“On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?”  -The Green Mile

10.“I am your number one fan.”  -Misery

11. “The monster never dies.”  -Cujo

12.“Sometimes when you’re young, you have moments of such happiness, you think you’re living on someplace magical, like Atlantis must have been. Then we grow up and our hearts break into two.”  -Hearts in Atlantis

October 7, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 15 Comments

September’s Movies

Great theater month!

Now it’s your turn.  Add your 5 words (or less!) to mine 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.

I hope that you will take a few minutes to participate when you can each month.  It’s fun for me and for everyone else who reads it.  I’m not looking for a critical review, just a few words about how you felt about the movie.  This is ongoing so you can leave your 5 words anytime.

We’re up to $53

The Drop Poster.jpgThe Drop, 2014 (Cast-Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini, Noomi Rapace, John Ortiz)            Grade B+

 Quiet man lives by code.

Theatrical release posterThe Maze Runner, 2014 (Cast-Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter)    Grade B

Crazy maze was never boring.

This Is Where I Leave You poster.jpgThis is Where I Leave You, 2014 (Cast-Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne)   Grade B-

Great cast. Funny but sad.

Family dysfunction at its best.   (Kathy)
Marmaduke ver3.jpgMarmaduke, 2010 (Lee Pace, Judy Greer, William H. Macy. Voices of Owen Wilson, Fergie, Keifer Sutherland, Emma Stone, George Lopez)     Grade C

Big dog really gets around.

October 3, 2014 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 9 Comments

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