Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Q is for Queen Quinny Quindlen’s Quilters

Blogging from A to Z

actorAidan Quinn

I first laid eyes on Quinn in 1984 when he played bad boy to Daryl Hannah’s golden girl in the movie Reckless.  He was such a hottie :)  I loved him in Benny & Joon (1993) and Legends of the Fall (1994) too.  In both he played big brothers who took that responsibility very seriously.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBuaFcjT8jI

authorAnna Quindlen

I read Every Last One and liked it quite a lot.  I’ve also read a book of her essays but prefer the fiction.  I’m hoping to read a few more by her this year!  Do you have a favorite Quidlen book that I should start with?

movieThe African Queen, 1951

I cheated a bit with this title, but when I went through the Q movie list there were only two I had seen and neither of them were worthy of any favorite list.  This classic is Katherine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart at their cantankerous best.

bookThe Quilter’s Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

This is the first book in the Elm Creek Quilts series and liked it quite a bit even if I am a failed quilter.  The story of friendship is a heartwarming one and I hope to continue with the series someday.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 2 Comments

P is for Philadelphia Planes Pull Plummer Phillps Postcards

I’ve had a love affair with postcrossing the last few years (even receiving a postcard from Ukraine this week and going on to exchange a few emails about the state of affairs there, more on that when we come to U).  I’ve received 175 postcards from around the world and two of them fit this month’s challenge very well.

IMG_6115The first was sent to me by an ER doctor in Israel and the second was sent from the Netherlands.  I love sending and receiving cards and think it is a hobby that Gage could participate in soon.

Blogging from A to Z

authorSusan Elizabeth Phillips

I first read Dream a Little Dream in 1998 and quickly went on to read the rest of her backlist and then eagerly await her new releases.  Do yourself a favor and try one of her quick-witted and sassy romances.

moviea tie…The Philadelphia Story, 1940  AND Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, 1987

I’ve looked at this choice a few times over the last week and I’ve decided that I can only take the easy way out.  I love both of these movies.

bookPull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

The first Berg book I read and so far it’s my favorite.  I recommend this book highly to women who want to see glimpses of themselves in a flawed but, oh-so-recognizable, heroine.

actorChristopher Plummer

He will always be Captain Von Trapp to me (The Sound of Music), but he’s had a lot of great movies in the past 10 years or so.

 

April 18, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 4 Comments

O is for Only Outlander OldMan Olson

Blogging from A to Z

bookOutlander by Diana Gabaldon

In Outlander we are introduced to Claire and her husband Frank as they are taking a second honeymoon in Scotland. In 1945. After viewing a Druid ceremony at a formation of standing rocks, Claire finds herself by the same formation of rocks, but in the year 1743 and in the middle of an English/Scottish skirmish that leaves her thought a whore and kidnapped by a powerful clan. So begins her adventure across the Highlands in a time of turbulent unrest. She is forced to marry Jamie, tried (and almost hung) for being a witch, and is forced to answer the difficult question of “what do you do if you know the future”? This book is full of folklore and political intrigue. Gabaldon really knows her history. As long as you can stomach the rape scenes you’ll love this book.  And probably the rest of the series too.

movieOnly You, 1994

Faith believes in destiny and when the Ouija board and then a crystal ball at a carnival tell her that her soul mate is Damon Bradley she takes it to heart.  Fast forward more than a decade and Faith is about to marry a podiatrist when she takes a message for her fiance from Damon Bradley.  Convinced that it is fate she takes the next plane to Italy to find him.  Only she is always one step behind and must rely on her best friend and a new love interest to help her track down Damon.

This movie was pure romantic escapism.  It was about destiny and finding that one other half of yourself.  Faith’s belief was magical and innocent and it was nicely offset by Peter’s belief that they were meant to be together.  I love stories like this when they are done well and the leads perfect in their roles, like this one.   Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei were great together.

authorKaren E. Olson

She is the author of the Tatoo Shop mystery series, one that I very much enjoyed even though I would never get a tatoo myself.  I was able to meet her at Bouchercon when it was in Cleveland in 2012 and she was lovely.

027

actorGary Oldman

Whether he plays the good guy or the bad guy he is always compelling  to watch.  He was in one of my favorite movies, The Professional, with the young Natalie Portman, and I also liked him as Gordon in the latest Batman trilogy and as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter films.  He’s been on so many movies, do you have a favorite?

 

April 17, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 4 Comments

N is for Natives No Newman

Gage is still fighting the stomach bug :(

Blogging from A to Z

actorPaul Newman

Old Blue Eyes brought class to every movie he was in and by all appearances proved to be a class act off the screen as well.  We need more of that these days!  Loved him most in The Sting, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, and Road to Perdition.

bookNative Son by Richard Wright

This is one of those classics that no matter how I describe it, I am not going to do it justice and will be hard-pressed to convince you to read it unless you are already inclined.  Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

Unflinching and brutally honest this is not one to miss.  I listened to the audio in 2001 and would like to tackle the print someday.

movieNo Way Out, 1987

This movie had everything a great thriller should have with the addition of limousine sex!   It’s fast, and twisty, and made me so nervous to find out if Kevin Costner would escape.  Loved the Pentagon setting and the great acting.

authorCarla Neggers

This romantic suspense author was a surprise to me when I ran into her book signing at a local bookstore in 2008.  I’ve gone on to read a handful of  her 60+ novels and enjoyed them all.    I also did a short interview with her in 2009.

 

 

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 5 Comments

No M Quiz this week

Gage was sick yesterday so I didn’t have time to make one!  See you next week :)

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | 7 Comments

M is for McNaught Meets Martin’s Miracle

Blogging from A to Z

authorJudith McNaught

IMG_6070from my personal library :)

I’ve read all thirteen novels and reread quite a few of them more than once.  Her historicals are my all-time favorites.  The two I’ve reread the most over the years are Almost Heaven and Paradise, but there are others that I should take the time to read more often because they are such comfort reads to me.  Her last two books were romantic suspense and were good, but it’s the romances that make me a real fan.

movieMeet the Parents

I find Ben Stiller funny and he has never been better than in this comedy.  Robert De Niro as the scary future father-in-law is perfection as well.  I watch this every time it comes on tv – and that’s a lot!

bookMiracle of Mindfulness:An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh

I first read this in the late 90′s and it still holds a place in my everyday life.  There are things about being totally present and awake in the moment that speak to me.  It’s 160 pages of spiritual self-help written by a Buddhist monk and I can’t recommend it enough.  Doing this list this month I have been reminded of so many books I want to reread and this is at the top of the list.

actorSteve Martin

Like Stiller, Martin is another actor that I find funny pretty much every time I see him.  I did like him in his older movies (The Jerk, The Man with Two Brains) but my two favorites are Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Father of the Bride.  I read his first book, Shopgirl, and didn’t love it, but I like that he’s talented writer and musician too!

 

 

April 15, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | 9 Comments

L is for Lord Lion Lindbergh on Lolly Lane

Gift from the SeaGift from the Sea by Anne Monroe Lindbergh. Rating 5/5, memoir?, 142 pages, pub. 1955

I cannot possibly do this book of poetic beauty justice.  The views of Lindbergh can be considered old-fashioned and antiquated, and they are, but that should not diminish the truth behind her words.  As women, we all still struggle with finding time alone, relationships, midlife, aging.  This slim memoir is to be savored one small chapter at a time and by those who can appreciate that it was written in a different, but no less significant period.  Lindbergh lived a privileged (and in some ways tragic) life, but her words can be appreciated by every woman.  I set aside time to fully appreciate each chapter with no outside noise or time constraints (a difficult task), and felt that I had visited and been restored by the sea.

From my personal library and I loved it.

Blogging from A to Z

 

movieThe Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001, 2002, 2003

This trilogy, based on the fantasy books by JRR Tolkien, is based in Middle Earth during a dangerous time.  The dark lord Sauron wants to rule over Middle Earth and he must find the One Ring that can make that possible.  The wizard Gandalf, four hobbits, two men, an elf, and a dwarf form a fellowship to destroy the ring, but there are many evil forces at work and they don’t all make it to the end.

Loved every minute of this series, in no small part due to this man

(swoon)

actorDiane Lane

I fell in love with her when I saw  A Walk on the Moon (who also happens to feature that swoon-worthy man above), then I saw  Under the Tuscan Sun and it cemented her place as one of my favorite actresses.

bookThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Who didn’t want to find a secret door in their house to step through for adventure after reading this?  One of children’s books that I think has aged well.

authorLolly Winston

Only two books and I loved them both.  Good Grief and Happiness Sold Separately.  She hasn’t written a book in ages, but I’ll be first in line when she does!

 

 

 

April 14, 2014 Posted by | 5 Star Books, Blogging from A-Z | , | 16 Comments

K is for Koonz Kid Kills Keaton Knight

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads.

Looks like my kid is ready for summer!

gage in sunglasses


Blogging from A to Z

bookA Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux

I remember reading this soon after it was first  published in 1989 and falling in love with the historical time travel romance.  The time travel aspect seems so passe these days, but 20+ years ago I was hooked.  I went on to read and enjoy more of Deveraux’s historicals but this probably still my favorite.  A 16th century knight meets a modern day young woman and sparks fly.  I’ve read it a few times over the years and have loved it every time.

authorDean Koontz

I have always preferred Koontz to Stephen King, although King has impressed me over the last several years.  Koontz, to his credit, never needs an editor :)  He wrote one of my favorite trilogy-ish books ever, the Moonlight Bay books.  He hasn’t had the splashy career of King, maybe because of King’s great success with the movies of his books, but I think he is a more skilled and solid writer.

movieKill Bill, Volumes 1&2 (2003,2004)

By far my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie(s).  Maybe it’s because all the women kick butt: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Darryl Hannah, Vivica Fox.  This was out of my comfort zone a bit but I really liked it.  Do you have  favorite Tarantino movie?  I’ve seen a few but haven’t really loved any of them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sbKt3ptUJo

actorDiane Keaton

As I looked over Diane’s list of movies, I realize that I like her more than I do the movies she’s in.  I like watching her nervous energy onscreen.  She’s been in some classics (Godfather, Annie Hall) but I prefer some of her other, more standard fare.  I loved Baby Boom, Father of the Bride, Something’s Gotta Give. As I look at that list I see that they are roles of her as a mother in different phases of her life.  I’ve seen them all more than once and loved them every time.  What about you? Do you have a favorite Diane movie?

 

 

April 12, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z, Photos | 19 Comments

J is for Joaquin Judgement of Jennifer, Joyce & Jane

Blogging from A to Z

Maybe This TimeMaybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie.  Finished 4-10-14, rating 4.5/5, haunted romantic comedy, 342 pages, pub. 2010

Andie Miller wants to marry her fiancé and leave behind everything in her past, especially her ex-husband.  A very distant cousin of his has died and left him as the guardian of two orphans who have driven out three nannies already. He needs a very special person to take care of the situation and he knows Andie can handle anything. 

When Andie meets the two children she quickly realizes things are much worse than she feared. The place is a mess, the children aren’t your average delinquents, and the creepy old house is being run by the worst housekeeper since Mrs. Danvers. What’s worse, Andie’s fiancé thinks this is all a plan by North to get Andie back. 

What follows is a hilarious adventure in exorcism, including a self-doubting parapsychologist, an annoyed medium, her Tarot-card reading mother, an avenging ex-mother-in-law, and, of course, her jealous fiancé. And just when she thinks things couldn’t get more complicated, North shows up on the doorstep making her wonder if maybe this time things could be different between them. 

from Goodreads

Fun, fun, fun!  I loved this romp in a haunted Ohio castle.  Crusie will have you chuckling out loud and leave you with a smile on your face. Andie is a great heroine, easy to like, and the kids are damaged enough to make her show her grit.  And that’s before the ghosts show up.  Lots of great characters, a moody castle, ghosts to sort out, a murder, and sex.  What more could you want?

I love Crusie’s writing.  Her books are always lighthearted and the canvas of characters is always colorful.

 

authorBrenda Joyce

I consider Joyce my go-to historical romance author.  I loved her Deadly series and consider it one of my all-time favorites (I reviewed the 9 romanctic suspense series here).  When I checked with Goodreads, I have 23 of her 50+ books marked as read.  This makes me very happy because it means I can turn to her for years to come.  A must try for historical romance readers!

bookJane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

This was the first work of literature that I read on my own.  I think I was trying to impress my freshman English teacher during our free reading time in class.  I did reread it sometime after college and I watched a bunch of the movie adaptations (most are pretty good).  I also saw the musical during its short stay on Broadway.  It was excellent and I was sad to see that it closed early.  Anyway, this is all to say that this classic gothic romance has it all: love, death, abuse, madness, money, power, a family made not born into, and finally, peace.

movieJudgement at Nuremberg, 1961

In 1948, four Nazis are tried for war crimes.  You can’t go wrong with this all-star cast-Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Maxmilian Schell, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland.  See the very dramati courtroom scene….

 

actorJoaquin Phoenix

This was a hard one.  I could have just as easily chosen Hugh Jackman (more easily actually), but if I am honest I find Joaquin so much more interesting.   Maybe it’s his bohemian childhood and the tragedy of witnessing the death of his brother, Phoenix, but he brings such heft to each of the characters he portrays.  I liked him in Walk the Line, and he was my favorite actor in Gladiator, but his latest, Her, I haven’t seen yet because the premise freaks me out a little.  Have you seen it?

 

April 11, 2014 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books, Blogging from A-Z | , | 9 Comments

I is for It’s Ian Into Isabel

Blogging from A to Z

movieIt Happened One Night, 1934

It Happened One Night (1934) PosterClark Gable and Claudette Colbert were flawless in this slapstick romantic comedy.  She, a spoiled heiress, and he, a reporter on the story, match wits and sparks fly.  It won 5 Oscars (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Writing) and is well worth checking out.  One of my all time faves.

bookInto the Wilderness by Sara Donati

This is a must read for fans of Diana Gabaldon, or for those who love epic tales of adventure and romance. Elizabeth Cameron sails to New York in the late 1700′s to join her father; judge of a small mountain village called Paradise. It chronicles her journey from genteel England, to the rough laws and harsh prejudice of the New World.  Paradise is full of unique characters,  rife with hostility toward the Mohawk living on Lake in the Clouds. Elizabeth comes to be a teacher, but her father has other plans for her. To secure his own wealth, Elizabeth’s father intends for her to marry Richard Todd, the wealthiest man in Paradise. Instead, Elizabeth falls in love with Nathaniel from Lake in the Clouds.

actorIan McKellen

His recurring roles of Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings  and Hobbit trilogies have cemented him as the go-to guy for complex characters.  He is fun to watch, even if he’s being bad.  Do you have a favorite of his outside of these roles?  I admit I’m not as familiar with his other movies as I should be.

authorIsabel Allende

I read her first book, The House of Spirits,  and loved it.  This 1982 novel, with strong women and magical realism, put this Chilean on the map.  I’ve only read one of her other novels, Daughter of Fortune, and loved it too.  I want to read more.  Do you have a favorite Allende book?

April 10, 2014 Posted by | Blogging from A-Z | , | 13 Comments

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