Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

B is For Burglar by Sue Grafton

B Is for Burglar (Kinsey Millhone Series #2)B is for Burglar.  Finished 7-21-14, rating 4/5, mystery, 209 pages, pub. 1985

Although business has been slow lately for P.I. Kinsey Millhone, she’s reluctant to take on the case of locating Beverly Danziger’s sister Elaine Boldt. It’s a small matter that Beverly should be able to handle herself. So why is she enlisting Kinsey’s services? Beverly claims she needs Elaine’s signature on some documents so that she can collect a small inheritance. But the whole affair doesn’t sit well with Kinsey. And if there’s something she’s learned in her line of work, it’s to always follow your instincts…

Kinsey’s hunch proves true when she begins her inquiries into Elaine’s whereabouts and discovers that the attractive widow was last seen in a flashy lynx coat boarding a plane for Boca Raton. But the more Kinsey searches for Elaine the more questions she encounters. Is Elaine’s disappearance tied in to the brutal murder several months ago of one of her bridge partners? And what happened to Elaine’s Persian cat who seems to have also vanished?

from Goodreads

 Second in the Kinsey Millhone series. (Book 1)

I need more of these short, satisfying books. With time as limited as it is these are perfect in size and scope (short and not too deep) and I really liked Kinsey in the debut novel and knew I’d continue on with her eventually.  I felt like I got to know the private detective more in the first mystery (feisty, relationship wary) so I’m glad I read it, but I think I liked this mystery better.  There were so many potential avenues and suspects to pursue that I found it hard to put this novel down.

I know I am way late to this series, I think she’s on W now, but I like the comfort of knowing I’m going to get a great mystery with a great woman heroine in as few pages as possible ;)  I’m not going to be reading these back to back, but I will be picking them up often!

What about you? Are you reading or have you read this series?  How well does it age?

I picked one up at a book sale and also picked up the next in the series.

 

August 21, 2014 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 7 Comments

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The WitnessThe Witness. Finished 7-22-14, rating 4.5/5, romantic suspense, pub.2012

Unabridged audio expertly performed by Julia Whelan.  16 hours, 30 minutes.

Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man’s seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever. 

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems — and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail’s reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something — and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

from Goodreads

I am not a big Nora Roberts fan but have enjoyed her books from time to time, so when I saw Sheree’s review I knew I’d have to give this one a listen.  Like Sheree, I have to give major props to narrator, Julia Whelan.  She really did elevate the story.  And, also like Sheree, I was riveted.   I do think it could have been a tad shorter but that is my only minor complaint.  This is a win from Roberts.

I fell in love with the very smart Elizabeth from the beginning.  Her time as a teen was my absolute favorite part of the book.  She was a smart girl who was controlled by a cold mother and one night she decided to live a little and act her  (young) age.  When the night ends in murder, the Russian mob, and a chase, Elizabeth ends up in the Witness Protection Program.  Okay, I guess I do have another small squabble with the book.  I don’t think Roberts portrayed this program accurately, but it’s fiction so that’s okay, I guess.  This section of the novel had me on the edge of my seat, and surprisingly, a little teary.  Not a reaction I’ve had from any previous Roberts work.

Fast forward a few years and Elizabeth is now Abigail and as much as she likes to remain invisible she catches the eye of small town police chief, Brooks Gleason.  Brooks was everything she wasn’t- charming, laid back and surrounded by a loving family.  Obviously, they hook up at some point (this is a romance after all) but what does that mean for Abigail’s anonymity?  It’s worth the listen to find out!

I checked this out of the library.

August 20, 2014 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 16 Comments

Seuss Quiz

quizSorry I took last week off, life got in the way.  Enjoy visiting with Dr. Seuss today :)  Surely you all know at least one of these?  Guess away!

Take your best guesses, be entered to win 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 until Sunday.  

1. cat in hat Who am I?

2. seuss 5What book am I in?

3. seuss 3Who am I?

4. seuss 2What book am I in?

5. seuss 4Who am I?

6. seuss 8What book am I in?

7. seuss 9Who am I?

8. seuss 6What book am I in?

9. seuss 7Who am I?

10. seuss 10Who are we?

August 19, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 4 Comments

Mailbox Monday – August 18

mmb-300x282Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week.Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.  

It’s been almost a month since I posted so that’s my excuse for so many books :)

books

 

 

Fagin’s Boy by Christina Pilz (a win from The True Book Addict – thank you!!!!)

Five years after Fagin was hanged in Newgate, Oliver Twist, at the age of seventeen, is a young man of good breeding, and fine manners, living a quiet life in a corner of London. When Oliver loses his protector and guardian, he is able, with the help of Mr. Brownlow’s friends, to find employment in a well-respected haberdashery in Soho.

However, in the midst of these changes, Jack Dawkins, also known as the Artful Dodger, arrives in London, freshly returned from being deported. Olovers’ own inability to let go of his past, as well as his renewed and intimate acquaintance with Jack, take him back to the life he thought he’d left behind.

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (purchased this one)

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die is a highly readable list of the best, the most important, and the most influential pop albums from 1955 through 2003. Carefully selected by a team of international critics, each album is a groundbreaking work seminal to the understanding and appreciation of music from the 1950s to the present. Included with each entry are production details and credits as well as reproductions of original album cover art. Perhaps most important of all, each album featured comes with an authoritative description of its importance and influence. Among the critics involved in selecting the list are some of the best known music reviewers and commentators, including Theunis Bates (music writer for Time and urban editor at worldpop.com), Jon Harrington (staff writer at MTV), Seth Jacobson (writer for Dazed & Confused), as well as many others.

Brood X by Michael Phillip Cash, If You Were Me and Lived in Turkey by Carole P. Roman, The Universe-ity, Just Ask the Universe, and Keep Calm and Ask On, all by Michael Samuels

(sent to me by Red Feather Productions)

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Surrender by Brenda Joyce, Bleachers by John Grisham, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan, C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton, Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled by Dorothy Gilman, The Landower Legacy by Victoria Holt, The Captive by Victoria Holt, The Road to Paradise Island by Victoria Holt, The Silk Vendetta by Victoria Holt, Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Kidd Taylor, The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time by Mark Haddon, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

(all purchased from the library sale for $4.50 – woo hoo!!)

So, did anything fun arrive in your mailbox this week?

August 18, 2014 Posted by | Mailbox Monday | 25 Comments

Gage’s Picks

We have a healthy bookshelf full of picture books and a large magazine holder full of library books.  We read three books and a chapter in the Children’s Bible every night before bed. We read on and off during the day or for different activities, but this week I set aside 10 minutes in the morning where Gage had to choose one book on his own for us to read together.  This is a skill he needs to work on!  The first few days he walked over to where all of his books were and had a hard time deciding where to start looking in the mass of books, but he worked it out and ended up choosing five from the library and one from his own books.  Guess there’s no need to buy lots of books!

Richard Scarry's Hop Aboard! Here We Go!Richard Scarry’s Hop Aboard. There are so many images and descriptions of various vehicles that I made him choose one on each of the 48 pages for us to focus on, until we got to the trains – we read all of those, of course!  Fun and educational.  Lots of information for a pre-schooler.

We Work at the Fire StationWe Work at the Fire Station. A basic book with big photographs and few words. I liked the questions they asked on a few of the pages and the visual quiz at the end.  I know there is a series of these and I’d like to get more. 24 pages.

Green Eggs and HamGreen Eggs and Ham. We’ve owned this since birth and I’ve tried to make it through many times over that last 3+ years but it is only in the last few weeks that he’s maintained interest to the end. It’s worth noting that his favorite part is the train that shows up halfway through. This is a fun one to read and I caught him ‘reading’ the last page at breakfast the next day.  He said he would like to try green eggs and ham, LOL. Gage is a picky eater and I do think that this book is great for kids who are reluctant to try new foods.  And it’s just fun :)  62 pages

Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library!Dewey:There’s a Cat in the Library.  Based on the true story of Dewey, the library cat, this is a big hit with Gage, our resident cat lover.  If the book has trains or cats then he is willing to take a look.  The beautiful illustrations jump off the page on this one and I love the lesson of finding your place in the world.  There are many different things going on in the book that go a little above Gage’s head, but this is the one that also generates the most discussion because he asks so many questions.  40 pages.

Red HenThe Red Hen.  Isn’t that cover great? The illustrations in the book are much of the same and lots of fun.  This is a seemingly simple book of a classic tale, is a great one for asking questions at the end (how many characters were in the book? how many ingredients in the cake?) for recollection. The hen wanted to bake a cake and asked her three friends to help her at every turn but they said no, until it was time to eat the cake. The end made me laugh. I am surprised he likes this so much and when I asked what his favorite part is he answers. “The cake. I want to make one.”  There is a cake recipe at the end.

Just Like Bossy BearJust Like Bossy Bear. When he brought this one over to me yesterday I had to stifle a laugh.  I brought this home from the library because Gage is a Bossy Bear but we hadn’t read it yet. Bossy Bear realized that his BFF was starting to act like him and it wasn’t pretty so he changed his ways.  Gage listened, but didn’t seem all that interested.  Until he started saying Bossy Bear things in the bathroom and I wonder if the book had the opposite of the desired effect?  32 pages

I can’t wait to see what he chooses this week!

August 16, 2014 Posted by | Gage, Kids Books | | 20 Comments

Tuesday Quiz – Characters – guessing closed

quizOver the years I’ve had the need to consult Cliff’s Notes for help in understanding parts of literature.  I’ve lifted their top 3 character assessments from 10 books.  Think you can name the book?  If it helps, I only chose books written by women.  Good luck! (Thank you, Cliff’s Notes for being so thorough)

Take your best guesses, be entered to win a prize.  No cheating (using the web to help find answers) or copying.  All extra details can be found here.

Leave your  guess or guesses in the comment section until Sunday.  

1. Uncle Tom The central character, a slave belonging to Shelby. Eliza and George Harris Mrs. Shelby’s servant and her husband; they have a young son, Harry. Arthur, Emily, and George Shelby A Kentucky farmer (Tom and Eliza’s owner), his wife, and teenaged son.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)

2. Jonas The protagonist, or main character, in the novel. Jonas is a sensitive, polite, compassionate twelve-year-old boy. At the December Ceremony, he is selected to become the new Receiver of Memory, the most honored position in the community. Jonas is quite complacent, or non-caring, before he begins his training as the new Receiver, but after he gains wisdom from memories and realizes that people gave up their freedoms for Sameness, he becomes angry and frustrated. During his training, Jonas acquires very deep emotional feelings and learns about love.  Mother Jonas’ mother is an intelligent, sympathetic, and understanding person. She holds a prominent position at the Department of Justice. One of her job responsibilities is to punish people for breaking the strictly enforced rules of the community.  Father Jonas’ father is a shy, quiet, considerate, caring man. He is a Nurturer, responsible for the physical and emotional needs of every newborn child during the first few months of life. He is also responsible for the release — killing — of infants who are deemed worthless because something either emotional or physical, or both, is wrong with them.  The Giver (Lowry)

3. Elizabeth Bennet An intelligent and spirited young woman who possesses a keen wit and enjoys studying people’s characters. Although she initially dislikes Darcy, circumstances cause her to reassess her negative impression of him, and she eventually falls in love with him. Fitzwilliam Darcy A wealthy, proud man who falls in love with Elizabeth and reveals a generous, thoughtful nature beneath his somewhat stiff demeanor.  Mr. Bennet Elizabeth’s ironic and often apathetic father. Unhappily married, he has failed to provide a secure financial future for his wife and daughters.   Pride & Prejudice  (Austen)

4. Celie A young black Georgia girl who faces adulthood believing that she has been raped by her father and that he killed both of their babies. The novel examines her struggle to find love, self-esteem, and continuing courage despite harsh setbacks.  Nettie Celie’s sister. Celie loves Nettie more than anyone else in the world.  Fonso Celie and Nettie’s stepfather; shortly after their father is killed, he marries their widowed mother.   The Color Purple (Walker)

5.  Nathan Price An evangelical Baptist preacher who takes his family into the Belgian Congo in 1959 to do missionary work. His experiences in World War II shape his uncompromising desire to be an instrument of God, even at the expense of his family.  Orleanna (Wharton) Price Nathan’s wife. Spirited and beautiful as a young woman, her will has been broken by years of marriage to Nathan. She is desperate to protect her children from the dangers of the Congo.  Rachel Price The oldest of the Price daughters. Beautiful and shallow, she is a product of Western civilization and cares mostly for appearances and fun. She does not hesitate to use her beauty to manipulate others.  The Poisonwood Bible (Kingsolver)

6. Ponyboy Michael Curtis A 14-year-old boy who is the narrator and main character. His parents have been killed in an automobile accident, and he lives with his two brothers.  Soda(pop) Patrick Curtis Ponyboy’s 16-going-on-17-year-old brother. He is a high school dropout and works at the local gas station. He is “movie-star” handsome.  Darrel (Darry) Shayne Curtis The 20-year-old brother and legal guardian of Ponyboy and Soda. He works too hard and too long, and would be in college, if life had turned out different.  The Outsiders (Hinton)

7. Janie Sixteen-year-old Janie Crawford dreams of love and wonders whether love will come with marriage. Twenty-four years and three marriages later, Janie has experienced both love and personal growth.  Nanny Born into slavery on a plantation near Savannah, she bears Leafy, her white master’s child. Disappointed with this child, Nanny, who has no given name, dotes on her granddaughter Janie.  Mrs. Washburn Nanny’s employer and benefactor.  Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston)

8. Howard Roark The hero of the story. It is his struggle to succeed as an architect on his own terms that forms the essence of the novel’s conflict. His independent functioning serves as a standard by which to judge the other characters — either they are like Roark or they allow others, in one form or another, to control their lives. Roark is the embodiment of the great innovative thinkers who have carried mankind forward but are often opposed by their societies.  Henry Cameron Roark’s mentor. He is an aged, bitter curmudgeon — and a commercial failure — but he is the greatest architect of his day. He is an early modernist, one of the first to design skyscrapers and a man of unbending integrity. Roark admires Cameron as he does no one else in the novel. His life exemplifies the fate of many innovators who have discovered new knowledge or invented a revolutionary product, only to be repudiated by society.  Dominique Francon An impassioned idealist who loves only man the hero. Dominique is Roark’s lover, his greatest admirer, and, simultaneously, an ally of Roark’s most implacable enemy — Ellsworth Toohey — in the attempt to ruin his career. Dominique, though a brilliant woman, holds a pessimistic philosophy throughout much of the novel that prevents her from fulfilling her vast potential.   The Fountainhead (Rand)

9. Heathcliff The main character. Orphaned as a child, he is constantly on the outside, constantly losing people. Although he and Catherine Earnshaw profess that they complete each other, her decision to marry Edgar Linton almost destroys their relationship. He spends most of his life contemplating and acting out revenge. He is abusive, brutal, and cruel.  Catherine Earnshaw The love of Heathcliff’s life. Wild, impetuous, and arrogant as a child, she grows up getting everything she wants. When two men fall in love with her, she torments both of them. Ultimately, Catherine’s selfishness ends up hurting everyone she loves, including herself.  Edgar Linton Catherine’s husband and Heathcliff’s rival. Well-mannered and well-to-do, he falls in love with and marries Catherine. His love for her enables him to overlook their incompatible natures.   Wuthering Heights (Bronte)

10. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) Narrator of the story. The story takes place from the time Scout is aged 6 to 9, but she tells the story as an adult. Scout is a tomboy who would rather solve problems with her fists than with her head. Throughout the course of the book, Scout comes to a new understanding of human nature, societal expectations, and her own place in the world.  Atticus Finch Maycomb attorney and state legislative representative who is assigned to represent Tom Robinson. A widower, Atticus is a single parent to two children: Jem and Scout.  Jem (Jeremy Atticus Finch) Scout’s older brother who ages from 10 to 13 during the story. He is Scout’s protector and one of her best friends. As part of reaching young adulthood, Jem deals with many difficult issues throughout the story.   To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)

August 5, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | 14 Comments

Sundays with Gage – filling in the gaps

As a mother, I want to pass on my passions and knowledge to my son.  As a self-aware adult, I know there are areas that I know little about.  Gage loves when his classes have a music therapist come and he always comes home happy and excited.  I, on the other hand, have had very little music to share outside of library storytimes when Gage was 1 and 2.  I rarely listen to the radio and am more likely to have CNN on as background noise than music.  I am woefully uninformed about the latest song or group.  So, as any self-respecting book blogger would do, I checked a book out of the library

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Not surprisingly  I only had one in my possession, Synchronicity by The Police.  I placed holds on some at the library and set up our old cd player in the foyer.  Every morning Gage and I listen to some music and dance together.  These are not kids songs, we have those and sometimes he’ll switch to one, but I want to expose him (and myself) to music I’ve never taken the time to listen to before.  A few pics from one of our jam sessions…

gage music1  gage music 2  gage music 3  gage music 4

A few thoughts on some of what we’ve listened to so far…

Biggest Surprise – Gage seems to like Frank Sinatra.

Biggest Comeback – After listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain’s first album (Psychocandy) and not getting it at all I really liked their second on the list (Darklands).

Most likely to purchase – So by Peter Gabriel

Most likely to have Gage changing the CD after one song – Pump by Aerosmith

Gage first danced on his own to  – Synchronicity by The Police

I’ll keep you all updated on our music journey through this book.

List of the albums we listened to from the book (Pump by Aerosmith, Tidal by Fiona Apple, So and Melt by Peter Gabriel, Darklands and Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Regatta de  Blanc and Synchronicity by The Police, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra)  10/1001

August 3, 2014 Posted by | Gage | | 24 Comments

July’s Movies

Wow!  I saw a lot of movies this month.  And some good ones too :)

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 $50

Austenland Poster.jpgAustenland, 2013 (Cast-Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie)                          Grade A-

I want Austenland immersion too!

Slapstick, cheesy comedy with romance!   (Heather)

 I want who she got :)   (Michelle)


Lorax teaser poster.jpgThe Lorax, 2012 (Voices-Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Betty White, Zac Ephron, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle)      Grade B+

Trees, trees – I love trees!

Cute and fun. Save trees!   (Heather)

Total cuteness, go the trees!   (Teddyree)

 


 

Belle poster.jpgBelle, 2013 (Cast-Tom Wilkinson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emily Watson, Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, Sam Reid)       Grade B

Seemingly romantic view of history.

 


Winters bone poster.jpgWinter’s Bone, 2010 (Cast-Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Garret Dillahunt)     Grade B

Ozarks aggressive take on  justice.

Better on second time watching.  (Michelle)

Acting amazing…story so sad.   (Heather)


 

Just Go with It Poster.jpgJust Go With It, 2011 (Cast-Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nicole Kidman)      Grade C+

Aniston makes 40’s look good.

 


 

Sex Tape (film).jpgSex Tape, 2014 (Cast-Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, Rob Lowe, Ellie Kemper)      Grade C

Laughs, eye rolls, laughs, shrugs.

 


 

Lucy (2014 film) poster.jpgLucy, 2014 (Cast-Scarlett Johanssen, Morgan Freeman, Min-Sik Choi, Amr Waked)       Grade D

90% really, really disliked it.

  Mind-blowing – really makes you think.   (Michelle)

July 31, 2014 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 14 Comments

Love Life by Rob Lowe

Love LifeLove Life. Finished July 2, 2014, rating 4/5, memoir, pub.2014

Unabridged audio read by the author

When Rob Lowe’s first book was published in 2011, he received the kind of rapturous reviews that writers dream of and rocketed to the top of the bestseller list. Now, in Love Life, he expands his scope, using stories and observations from his life in a poignant and humorous series of true tales about men and women, art and commerce, fathers and sons, addiction and recovery, and sex and love.

from Goodreads

I loved Rob Lowe’s first memoir about his start in the movie industry (Stories I Only Tell My Friends).  It even ended up on my favorite list at the end of the year.  Here’s what I said about Lowe’s narration at the time, “the audio is definitely the way to go with this one.  Lowe’s charm and intelligence come through loud and clear and I looked forward to getting in the car and visiting with him every day because that’s what it felt like.  He was very conversational and it was just a fun and easy listen.”  This is again true with this second memoir.

This one is a little less focused than the first, with stories ranging from acting to fatherhood to marriage, but no less engaging.  He still does lots of name-dropping, but the stories are told with respect and they aren’t always easy to hear. I’m thinking of the one when he went to rehab and his experience with other well-known celebrities; it broke my heart.  His stories about his boys growing up and leaving home, as well as his love for his wife, might have left a tear or two in my eyes.  But, for the most part I was smiling and chuckling.

If you want inside info on the movie industry or enjoy hearing fun stories about famous people then I recommend this one with both thumbs up.  And if you like those things I say listen to the first one too :)

I checked the audio out from the library.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , | 12 Comments

1,000 Quiz – guessing closed

quizRecognize these books that all have over 1,000 pages?

Take your best guesses, be entered to win 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 until Sunday.  

1. “Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them.”   Don Quixote

2. “Jean Valjean had this peculiarity, that he might be said to carry two knapsacks; in one he had the thoughts of a saint, in the other the formidable talents of a convict. He helped himself from one or the other as occasion required.”  Les Miserables

1000 quiz

3.War and Peach (Tolstoy)   4.The Fiery Cross (Gabaldon)   5. Shantaram (Roberts)  6. And the Ladies of the Club (Santmyer)   7. It (King)   8. Imfinite Jest (Wallace)   9. The Executioner’s Song (Mailer)   10. Gone with the Wind (Mitchell)

Answers to last week’s James Garner quiz here.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Quizzes | 19 Comments

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