Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Deep Shaker, by Les Roberts

Cover ImageFinished 6-17-09, rating 4, mystery, pub. 1991

Book 3 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series

The school had been old when I attended, and now my own son and Paulie Baznik were sneaking cigarettes in the same washroom where Matt and I had puffed them twenty-five years before, and there was something about the symmetry of it that appealed to me.  I felt a twinge of pity for those of my generation who had become creatures of the corporate, transferring halfway across the country to another milieu to keep their jobs, leaving their roots and their memories behind them.

Chapter 3

Milan, ex-cop turned private investigator, is asked by a long time friend to talk to his teen son.  His friend is afraid his 14 year old is involved in something bad and he wants Milan’s opinion.  Milan reaches the same conclusion as his friend – the boy is using and probably selling drugs.  Milan begins to do a little digging and finds that there is a huge drug problem in Cleveland that the police are trying to keep a lid on.   Milan steps on a few toes, but refuses to back down his investigation into the Jamaican ring of drug peddlers. 

Milan is much more maudlin in this third book.  He is facing problems in his realtionship with his girlfriend Mary and he is struck by how fast his two sons are growing up, with him only around every two weeks.  He is feeling alone and a little old as he approaches 40 and this books struck just the right chord with me.  The mystery was good, but this third time around showed so much more depth and I really ‘get’ Milan so much better now.  He is not just a man to right Cleveland’s wrongs, he is also a flawed and appealing character.

This series is set in Cleveland, Ohio and as a resident I must applaud Roberts in his love for the city.  Each book showcases another neighborhood and the descriptions are spot on.  It is interesting to note that Les Roberts is not from Cleveland.  He is from the Chicago area and lived in LA for many years.  After he began to visit Cleveland he liked it so much that he has decided to call it home, moving here in the early 90′s, around the time this book was published.

June 20, 2009 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , , , | 7 Comments

Fave Film #1 – The Philadelphia Story

I’m more likely to watch a favorite movie again and again before I’d read a favorite book again.  Maybe it’s because a favorite movie takes less time or I can share the time with a friend.  

If I have an author interview I’ll post it on a Friday, but if I don’t have an interview I’m going to watch a favorite movie and do a little feature.  Maybe it’s a favorite of yours too, or maybe you’ll discover one that you just have to see.   Although my list is not in exact order I’m going to start at the top for this first one.

The Philadelphia Story with Grant Grant1940 

Cast- Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart

 James Stewart won  the Best Lead Actor for his role.

Tracy Lord (Hepburn) is about to marry for the second time.  Her first husband, CK Dexter Haven (Grant), is hoping to meddle just enough to stop the wedding.  Writer Macaulay Connor (Stewart) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) are called in to secretly cover the wedding for a tabloid magazine.  Tracy must face the truth about herself before she can face her wedding day.

Why I love it- The cast from the big three (Hepburn, Grant, Stewart) to the smallers players like Uncle Willie and sister Dinah are superb.  The acting shines.  The quick and witty dialogue will keep you sharp, wanting to know what the next gem will be.  And just as importantly, the movie had something to say.  This was a movie about classes and imperfections, about being human.  It’s about making mistakes and not only being forgiven, but loved for them. 

I watched this again last night and I loved it just as much as ever.  There was only one scene I felt was written by a man in the 1930′s.  It was the one between Tracy and her father about why men cheat.   I actually hadn’t remembered it, but last night it made me so mad!  Imagine a father blaming his own daughter for his philandering! 

Here’s a peak at a scene between a drunk Connor and patient Haven.  I love both of these leading men.  I’ve read that this movie required no retakes and this scene in particular had some ad-libs.  The hiccup was not planned.  See what happens.

This is being shown on the Turner Classic Movie channel on June 28th at 8 pm.

 

June 19, 2009 Posted by | movies | , , , , | 11 Comments

The 6th Target, by James Patterson

Cover ImageFinished 6-15-09, rating 3/5, mystery, pub. 2007

This is the 6th book in the Women’s Murder Club series

I dropped my eyes to the victim, a large African American woman, her face mostly covered with an oxygen mask, an IV line running into her arm,  Blood soaked the sheet tucked tightly over her body.

I felt a pain in my chest, my heart catching on a full second before my brain put it together.

The victim was Claire Washburn!

My best friend had been shot on the ferry!

Chapter 4

When a madman goes on a shooting rampage on the ferry Lindsay is called in and she finds Claire a victim.  So, begins another installment of these four friends tackling the bad guys of San Francisco.  While Claire fights for her life in the hospital and Lindsay is on a mission to find the ferry killer, Cindy is having trouble at her new apartment building.  Yuki is charged with the task of prosecuting the killer – a seemingly open and shut case.

On a personal level, Lindsey is back to her detective ways and teamed up with a new partner, the ladies man Conklin.  And she is having problems with Joe.  Problems I never really understood, but, oh well.

My complaint about this series hasn’t changed all that much.  The relationship between the women is off and that doesn’t really seem to get better.  But after reading the 5th book a day before this one, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised to find the writing not nearly so off putting.  I think the writing was better and yet I liked it less.  Go figure.  For me there were a few too many things going on in this one.  It was still a page turner, but I’m writing this two days later and I can barely remember it.  It was good, but not memorable.

June 18, 2009 Posted by | 3 Star Books | , , | 5 Comments

5th Horseman, by James Patterson

Cover ImageFinished 6-14-09, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub. 2006

5th book in the Women’s Murder Club series

In the 1820′s, a couple of sweethearts named Burke and Hare were in the cadaver procurement business.  For a while, they dug up bodies for sale to Edinburgh’s medical schools – until they realized how easy it was to produce fresh corpses by grabbing live victims and sitting on their chests until they died.

Burking was still in good standing today.  Postpartum mommies do it to their kids more often than you’d ever want to know.  Slip the child between the mattress and box spring, sit on the bed.

If you can’t expand your chest, you can’t breathe.

Chapter 12

 Lindsay, Claire, Cindy, and Yuki are back in a drama that starts with patients dying in the hospital at an alarming rate and continues with young escorts being murdered, dressed up and left in fancy cars to be found.  Right from the beginning it turns personal, when Yuki’s mother is admitted into the hospital that is being sued for malpractice and becomes one of the victims of a hospital murderer.  If you are already scared of going to the hospital, this book will not help you.

Lindsay is having her own doubts about her promotion and asks to be put back on the street, but her boss says no.  Sexy Joe is back and more lovable than ever.  Considering we’ve had little time to get to know Yuki, it’s too bad this book did not show her in any other condition than mourning and depression. 

I liked the storylines and how the two big cases worked together.  This was more about the cases than the women.

This one did strike me as more poorly written than the others – and that’s saying something.  The language and banter were beyond cheesy and it was hard to find a sentence over 5 words or a paragraph with 5 sentences.  After a hundred pages or so I was able to laugh at the absurd conversations and lack of any depth and just enjoy the story. 

This series is not a favorite of mine, but they are page-turners and quick reads.  And summer is the perfect time for those.  Come back tomorrow for my review of The 6th Target.

June 17, 2009 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | , , , | 9 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – Deep Shaker

 teasertuesdays31Grab your current read

  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • Hosted my Miz B

But as attractive as it is, I’ve never gotten over the feeling that architecturally it belongs in another city, that it was picked up from someplace like downtown Houston or Phoenix and dropped into the middle of Cleveland.  It certainly clashes with the gothic grandeur of the gray arches and heaven-reaching green spire of the Cathedral of St. John a block away on Superior.

Deep Shaker by Les Roberts, Chapter 4

Cover Image

A whole series of mysteries by a guy who loves Cleveland.  What are you reading?

EDITED TO ADD–He is talking about the Galleria on 9th and St. Clair, downtown Cleveland.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | teaser tuesday | , | 17 Comments

Movie Trauma Meme

This week is all about trauma.  Share which movies have shaken us to the core so much that we’ve never been the same because of them.  Visit the Bumbles for other lists.

I’ve only got  few…

Old Yeller - Heartbreak and tears. 

The Believers with Martin Sheen: DVD CoverThe Believers (1987)  This one is silly, but the the mom was killed by a coffee pot and the girlfriend’s pimple got so big that dozens of spiders finally broke out running all over her face.  I never liked spiders before the movie, but was terrified after.  That scene has stayed with me.  I’ve never looked at spiders or pimples the same way.

Jaws - This one should need no explanation. 

Schindler’s List -  There have been other movies and specials I’ve seen, but this stark look at the Holocaust shook me.  How can people hate this much?  Still a question that troubles me.

Platoon and other war movies – I’m a lover, not a fighter.  These haunt me, so I try to avoid them.

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 8 Comments

New York, New York Quiz

KATHY from Bags, Books, and Bon Jovi  really knows her New York literature and movies!

My New York trip inspired me to have a quiz featuring some of the more prominent books set in in the New York City area.  I’ve given you a quote from the book AND a photo from the movie.  Here’s how to play…Identify these famous novels by telling me the book and author.  Leave a comment with the # of the first line and the title of the book and I’ll cross it off the list.  No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  

1. “I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it – overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.” The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald – Kathy

2. I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together.  I’m not quite sure where that is just yet.  But I know what it’s like…. It’s like Tiffany’s…. Not that I give a hoot about jewelry.  Diamonds, yes.  But it’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re forty…  Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote – Kathy

3. Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.   The Godfather by Mario Puzo – Kathy

4. Over the past ten years, for the first time, intelligence had become socially correct for girls.  Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe – Kathy

5. “It seems stupid to have discovered America only to make it into a copy of another country.”  The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton – Barbara

6. “There is just this for consolation: an hour here or there, when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we’ve ever imagined , though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning, we hope, more than anything, for more. Heaven only knows why we love it so.”  THE HOURS BY MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM

7.  I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on Fifty-second Street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to see me. She was small and blonde, and whether you looked at her face or at her body in powder-blue sports clothes, the result was satisfactory. “Aren’t you Nick Charles?” she asked.  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett – Kathy

8.”…there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, and though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there.”  American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – Kathy

9. I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window – no, I don’t feel how small I am – but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.  THE FOUNTAINHEAD BY AYN RAND

10. Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse had signed a lease on a five-room apartment in a geometric white house on First Avenue when they received word, from a woman named Mrs. Cortez, that a four-room apartment in the Bramford had become available.  Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin – Kathy

So, get to guessing!

June 15, 2009 Posted by | Quizzes | , , | 12 Comments

Lethally Blonde, by Kate White

Cover ImageFinished 6-13-09, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub. 2007

Book #5 in the Bailey Weggins mystery series

It all started with a coincidence.  Not one of those totally creepy coincidences that make you feel as if someone has just walked across your grave.  In fact, later I could see that the phone call I got that late summer night wasn’t all that unexpected – but at the time it made me catch my breath.  And, of course, it was the start of everything horrible that happened…

first paragraph

Bailey Weggins is a chic New York gal in her 30′s with a fun job and a revolving door of hot men.  She also seems to find trouble and danger if there is any to be found.  In this latest installment she is contacted by a hunk from her past, who just happens to be the next big It guy in a new prime time tv show.  Chris is worried that his friend and fellow actor, Tom, has disappeared.  The police aren’t too concerned about it and he knows that Bailey is a great one to get to the bottom of the things.  Bailey agrees to help and the two also fall back into bed together.  As her inquiries lead to a dead body, spooky calls, druggings, and more death, Bailey wonders if she’s in over her head.

I liked that this mystery took her away from her job at the magazine a bit and we were able to get a better feel for the city.  This was perfect for me since I picked it up and started reading it while in New York. 

Bailey is fun.  She is the hip New Yorker that you’d want to be friends with and share juicy stories.  And the mystery is good too- I didn’t have any idea until very close to the reveal at the end.  Not only is her ex Chris back, but another ex, Beau, is back and looking Bailey’s way.  Not sure how much bed hopping is appropriate, but it was close to my limit.  If you’ve never been the big town girl with a cool job, mysteries to solve, and attractive men in your bed then Bailey is just what you need.  Live vicariously through her.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | , , , | 7 Comments

Twelfth Card, by Jeffery Deaver

Cover ImageFinished 6-9-09, rating 3/5, mystery/ thriller, pub.2005

#6 Lincoln Rhymes series

“You like that actor broke his neck?” She slurped her coffee, added more sugar.  Slurped again.

“That’s right”

“An’ you can’t move nothin’?”

“Not much.”

“Damn”

“Keesh,” Geneva whispered. “Chill, girl.”

“Just, you know, damn.”

Chapter4

Paraplegic Lincoln Rhymes is back in his Upper West side townhouse with his usual cast of of friends.  This time he is called to investigate an attempted attack in Harlem on 16 year old Geneva Settle.  Geneva was researching her ancestor, Charles Singleton who had been a freed slave 140 years ago, when she had eluded an attack using her street smarts.  The attacker goes on to kill a bystander and a police officer at the scene, so it is all hands on deck to protect the girl and to find out what had made her a target.

Lincoln is also dealing with some personal insecurities.  After months of machines working his paralyzed body it is finally time to find out if it has made any difference and he is willing to use any excuse to put this off.  Sellitto has a close encounter with the killer and has become a bit gun-shy, a bad thing when you are chasing dangerous men and women everyday and a good way to get yourself killed.  Kara, the musician from the last book makes a  small appearance.

This was my least favorite of the series so far for a few reasons, but what it all comes back to is that is felt more like a politically correct history lesson than a thrilling mystery.  The slang used by Geneva and her best friend seemed stereotypical and tired.  The old mystery involving  the freed slave also working with the black activists of the time was not interesting enough to keep the story moving.  I’m no lawyer, but the end seemed very outlandish to me.

Deaver’s books are always well written, fast-paced, and full of many twists and turns.  This one was too, it just wasn’t quite up to the level of his others.  And it did seem very appropriate to be reading this while I was in New York!

June 12, 2009 Posted by | 3 Star Books | , , , | 5 Comments

NYC Trip

We just got back from our trip to New York City a few hours ago.   I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone, but thought I’d share a few highlights.

We stayed at the Sheraton Tower at Times Square (although they say Times Square it is actually several blocks north).  Every trip we always go the the Met, but we’d never been to the roof before.  This is what we found there…

ny me on met roof

Yes, that’s me interacting with the art.  There are beautiful views of the city and Central Park from there.  We also went and saw Avenue Q on Broadway.  Loved it!

I was also able to meet up with my old friend Golda.  We met when we were both working at Barnes & Noble in Michigan.  She’s been working at WW Norton for nine years.

ny me & golda

After a very nice lunch she showed me around the offices and gave me a few books and a great bag!

ny books

Thanks, Golda!

While Jason was conferencing I was able to walk around the city, ride the subway (always an experience), and get some reading done.  I had intended to walk to the apartment that Jason ad I lived in for 5 months in Midtown, but never made it over there.  Maybe next trip  :)

We were also able to meet up with another old friend last night, an old Navy buddy of Jason’s, but I forgot to take a picture!  Anyway, we had a fun time, but I’m glad to be home.

June 11, 2009 Posted by | Photos | | 12 Comments

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