Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Storm Prey, by John Sandford

Storm Prey (Lucas Davenport Series #20) by John Sandford: Book CoverFinished 7-10-10, rating 4/5, thriller, pub. 2010

Book #20 in the Lucas Davenport Prey series

Lucas and the gang are all back and ready to find the bad guys.  Weather is involved in a very high profile operation to separate conjoined twins and she unwittingly sees the inside guy of the pharmacy hold up at the hospital.  When one of the four men kills the pharmacist mere robbery turns to murder and the police are even more motivated to find the culprit.  The bikers who were responsible decide to bring in a hired gun to take out each other but they also decide that Weather must go too and this brings Lucas front and center.  Lucas trusts his friends Virgil Flowers, Jenkins, and Shrake to protect Weather and he is free to do what he does best, track down killers.

I’ve read every book of the series and the past few have only been okay for me, so I was happy to find myself completely engaged with Lucas again.  Maybe it was because this was as much about Weather as Lucas and the contrast worked.  And the bad guys were really bad.  The inside guy at the hospital was a real piece of work, even more so than the scary hired gun, Cappy. 

There was no mystery, only a compulsion to turn the pages to see how it would all play out, not only with the bad guys, but with the conjoined twins too.  The separation operation took up a lot of the storyline and it wa a nice change of pace.  Lucas and Weather seem to have a healthy home life with teen Letty and baby Sam, although they seem to have little interaction with the kids.  So, the one thing that struck me as odd was when Weather said she wanted another baby.  She never held the baby, even when she was housebound and under police protection fearing for her life.  But other than that this was a spot on thriller.

Another great addition to the series.

I checked this book out of the library.

July 15, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 13 Comments

Back When We Were Grownups, by Anne Tyler

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler: Book CoverFinished audio 7-9-10, rating 3.5/5, fiction, pub. 2001

Read by Blair Brown

Rebecca, a 53-year-old widower, has spent years living in someone else’s life.  She married and older man with 3 young daughters and took on the family business of hosting parties in their townhome.  They had a daughter of their own and he died after only eight years together.  Now, Rebecca is questioning her choices and even her identity.  She goes back home and contacts her only other boyfriend, hoping to get in touch with the old Rebecca, the one she recognizes. 

There were many things to like.  Who hasn’t thought about the turning points that have led them to where they are today?  And what if we had made a different choice here or there, would we be the same person?  I loved her apprehension at contracting her old boyfriend.  Caller ID has totally ruined hang ups!  And I loved the 100-year-old uncle that she inherited.  He was a riot and a real bright spot in the book for me.

There were some aspects that left this book a little flat for me.  As much as I enjoyed Rebecca’s journey I found myself waiting for something to happen.  I don’t mind quiet books, but this one seemed to lead to nowhere, which might be realistic, but not necessarily what I want to spend 9 hours listening to.  And I really disliked all four of her daughters.  I couldn’t believe how self-centered they all were and really wanted Rebecca to stand up to them or take some responsibility. Oh, and don’t get me started on the ridiculous nicknames they all went by, which only added to their superficial personas.

I loved the writing and premise and the book was good but, for me, not great.

I borrowed the audio from the library.

July 14, 2010 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | | 29 Comments

Common Denominator Quiz

What is the common denominator in these book combinations?  Tell me the number and what you think the five books have in common,  Go ahead and take a guess – you could be right!  Since these are tougher feel free to do any investigating you need to, like using google.  And if you figure a few out today and a few tomorrow, that’s okay, just leave separate comments.  You have until Friday morning.  Have fun :)

Here are the rules… 1. Open to everyone.  Play once or every week, that’s okay.  I’m happy to have you here today.

2. No cheating.  No looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system

3. Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.

If you haven’t seen this quiz before, here is a link to a past one with answers.  Answers to last week’s quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

1. The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey: Book CoverShrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph: Download CoverPicture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) by Oscar Wilde: Book CoverThe Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand: Download CoverGood as Gold by Joseph Heller: Book Cover

Colors in title

2.Outlander (Outlander Series #1) by Diana Gabaldon: Book CoverGarden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen: Book CoverPot of Gold by Judith Michael: Book CoverDon't Look Now by Linda Lael Miller: Book CoverDivine Evil by Nora Roberts: Book Cover

Main character named Claire/Clare

3.Big Trouble by Dave Barry: Book CoverDearly Devoted Dexter (Dexter Series #2) by Jeff Lindsay: Book CoverTourist Season by Carl Hiaasen: Book CoverLaBrava by Elmore Leonard: Book CoverLast to Die (Jack Swyteck Series #3) by James Grippando: Book Cover

Set in Miami 

4.The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: Book CoverHeavenly Detour by Joanne Meyer: Book CoverThe House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons: Book CoverDesolate Angel (A Dead Detective Mystery) by Chaz McGee: Book CoverThe House That Jack Built by Graham Masterton: Book Cover

Ghosts/Spirits

5.Outlander (Outlander Series #1) by Diana Gabaldon: Book CoverA Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux: Book CoverKindred by Octavia E. Butler: Book CoverThe Eyre Affair (Thursday Next Series #1) by Jasper Fforde: Download CoverSomewhere in Time by Richard Matheson: Book Cover

Time Travel

6.Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys: Book CoverThe Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart: Book CoverThe Eyre Affair (Thursday Next Series #1) by Jasper Fforde: Download CoverRebecca by Daphne du Maurier: Book CoverJane Airhead by Kay Woodward: Book Cover

Influenced /Inspired by Jane Eyre

7. Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBlood Bayou by Karen Young: Book Cover

Christian fiction

8.Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: Download CoverA Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: Book CoverChild 44 by Tom Rob Smith: Download CoverThe No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series #1) by Alexander McCall Smith: Download CoverWhen Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith: Download Cover

Authors have last name Smith

9.Stitches by David Small: Book CoverMaus by Art Spiegelman: Book CoverFun Home by Alison Bechdel: Book CoverIn the Shadow of No Towers by Art Spiegelman: Book CoverSentences by Ronald Wimberly: Book Cover

Graphic memoirs

10.Three Junes by Julia Glass: Book CoverThe Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: Book CoverNaked and the Dead by Norman Mailer: Book CoverCatch-22 by Joseph Heller: Book CoverWhite Teeth by Zadie Smith: Book Cover

Debut novels

Each correct answer worth 10 points.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | | 31 Comments

Monday Movie Meme – Hidden Gems

Feature Presentation…MONDAY MOVIE MEME
The Bumbles have a guest blogger for the Monday Movie Meme, Terry Kate from Romance in the Backseat.
This week it’s all about those movies that we love that have somehow been overlooked by the masses.   I’m not sure any of these really qualify as hidden, but they are the best I could come up with.
 
1. Modern Times (1936) This may not qualify as a hidden gem, but if you rarely watch old movies, have never watched Charlie Chaplin or a silent movie then I think this is one you should take the time to try.  This pic is from one of the most hilarious scenes I’ve ever seen.
2. Dogma (1999) Controversial, uncomfortable and hilarious.  The cast is top notch.  This is not for those who cannot appreciate religious satire.  Sometimes the movie went too far, but I watched it more than once and loved the originality.
3.The Butcher’s Wife (1991).  This is my silly choice.  It is a romantic comedy with a fun cast and magical plot.  This was not well received, but I thought it was sweet.
4. Dead Again (1991) Quirky and confusing and haunting.  And I love Emma and Kenneth.
5. I have mentioned these movies more than once here, so no description necessary…A Walk on the Moon (1999), Made in Heaven (1987)
 
Want to see a few more overlooked movies?  Check out The Bumbles.
 
Is there a hidden gem that you think we should see?  Leave a comment and let us know!
 
  

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Monday Movie Meme | | 21 Comments

So what’s the difference between Best and Favorite?

I love lists.  When I see a list of best books or best movies I always have to take a look and see how many of them I’ve read or watched.  Many times such a list is full of selections that are on there for a specific reason, like it was groundbreaking or the perfect example of the time, and once I have read or watched it I can usually see why it made the list.  In 1998 when the American Film Institute can out with its list of 100 Years 100 Movies Jason and I took the next 10 years and watched them all.  We even did our own rankings.  I liked so many of them, but when I compiled my own list of favorite movies, most of them didn’t make the cut.  Because favorite means I made some kind of emotional connection (no matter how superficial) and it always means I have watched it more than once.  That’s the test for me.  If I’m not interested in watching it again, no matter how much I liked it, it will not make the list.  So, when I review a movie from my Top 100 List I always watch it again.  There have been a few times that I then decided I didn’t want it on the list (well, twice).  As for books, I have not read every book on my Top 100 List twice, but I am working on it slowly.

Do you think there’s a difference between best and favorite?

And I may as well address my rating system for books since it seems like a good time.  My ratings are as follows…

***** Perfect!

**** Nearly Perfect.  You should read it.

*** Average.  Read it if the topic or author interests you.

** This was pretty bad.

* I only finished this so that I could enter it on the blog. 

I always rate a book and put it right at the top of my review.  But these ratings are so subjective they should really only be a starting point.  Timing is everything.  I am sure my mood influences rating as does my expectation.  If I expect it to be perfect and it’s only good, well, my disappointment may show up in the star count. 

Genre books are different.  If I give a mystery book 5 stars, that means it was the perfect mystery, it couldn’t have been done any better in my opinion.  I am not judging it against a non-fiction book about the horrors of war or a novel about the meaning of life.  So, I guess whatever category the book falls under, always listed after my rating, makes a difference in its rating too.

I may go back and change a rating, but only if I rated it recently.  I am not going back two years and re-evaluating.  I know bloggers have and I applaud you, but for me, how I felt just after I read it is probably more accurate.  Especially since my memory sometimes fails me :)

Still with me?  Thanks for reading my bookish thoughts today :)

July 10, 2010 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | , , | 9 Comments

White Fang, by Jack London

Cover ImageFinished 7-8-10, rating 4.5/5, classic fiction, pub. 1906

White Fang became hated by man and dog.  During this period of his development he never knew a moment’s security.  The tooth of every dog was against him, the hand of every man.  He was greeted with snarls by his kind, with curses and stones by his gods.  He lived tensely.  He was always keyed up, alert for attack, wary of being attacked, with an eye for sudden and unexpected missiles, prepared to act precipitately and coolly, to leap in with a flash of teeth, or to leap away with a menacing snarl.

Chapter 11

Part wolf, part dog White Fang came into the cruel Yukon world during a famine.  He and his mother were the sole survivors of the family and eventually went to live with a group of natives who gave them security, but took away their freedom and eventually took away White Fang’s mother.  White Fang was the biggest, cruelest, and most lethal of the dogs.  When his loyalty was betrayed he became hardened to the dog in him.  Is he redeemable?

Let me start by saying that I am a girl who cannot even watch the nature channels once one animal kills and eats another.  It’s a little too much reality for me.  I am much more likely to cry in a movie if a beloved animal is killed than a person.  So, when I say that I love White Fang and all of his wild ways it is no small thing.   I am sure that part of it is London’s writing – I loved The Call of the Wild as well- but the story itself is so compelling that I was riveted by White Fang’s life.

The book is mostly told from White Fang’s perspective once he is born, but the opening scenes that tell the tale of a sledding team on the run from wolves was perfect.  I won’t tell you who wins, but it was as good as any thriller I’ve read lately.  There was so much cruelty and abuse that White Fang never really had a chance until someone took the time to try to save him.  It is a lesson in humanity and redemption and I loved it.

 

This is from my personal library and chosen by GMR and Rhapsody in Books.  Here’s what they had to say…

“Unforgettable story about man’s relationship with nature.”  Rhapsody in Books

“A definite classic, but not so heavy that you’ll be stalled in your reading challenge.”  GMR

July 8, 2010 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | | 18 Comments

Inside Out, by Barry Eisler

Inside Out by Barry Eisler: Book CoverFinished 7-3-10, rating 4/5, thriller, pub. 2010

“the establishment is bigger now, more entrenched.  The Roosevelt and Truman expansions were ratified by Eisenhower.  Kennedy’s and Johnson’s abuses were ratified by Nixon.  Bush Jr.’s extraconstitutional moves have all been ratified by Obama.  It’s a ratchet effect.  There hasn’t been a federal law in the last sixty years that’s done other than increase the government’s power and influence, and the power and influence of the corporations that manage the government by extension.  The leviathan only grows.”

Chapter 41

Black ops soldier Ben Treven is back in this political stand-alone thriller and the clock is ticking on his job of recovering 92 tapes of extreme torture that have been stolen.  If they are released to the public heads will roll and the people will rise up in horror.  Treven knows how to intimidate and kill without remorse and that is what makes him so good at his job, but the man with the tapes is even more impressive than Ben since he is the one who is performing these acts of unspeakable torture.  The CIA, FBI and other clandestine government groups all want the tapes for different reasons and in Ben’s pursuit, he becomes tied to a sexy FBI agent.

I read the first book with Treven, Fault Line, and liked this one better.  I was intrigued by the story of the tapes (Abu Graib anyone?) and how relevant the story is in today’s political climate.  It is timely, scary, and left me with disappointment in the government.  And I’m not choosing sides either, all politicians deserve my disgust at times. 

It moves fast and there is much to appreciate if you are a political junkie, like me.  The author spent three years in a covert position with the CIA, so he knows a thing or two about how things work.  The one thing I did dislike in the book was the one sex scene, which I found to be a little too much for me.  And I’m not opposed to sex scenes, but this one was too violent for my tastes.  But overall I liked the book a lot and it led to a great discussion with my husband on the Fourth of July.  The end also left an opening for the next Ben Treven book and I am hoping there will be one.

This book was sent to me by the author.

July 7, 2010 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 5 Comments

Patriotic Movie Quiz

Another July 4th has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait another year for the fireworks and parades to pull our patriotic strings.  These ten movies will make you proud to be an American.  Identify as many of the movies as you can my leaving a comment.

Here are the rules… 1. Open to everyone.  Play once or every week, that’s okay.  I’m happy to have you here today.

2. No cheating.  No googling, other internet searches or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system

3. Your first answers will be the only ones accepted.

Answers to last week’s quiz here.  Leaderboard here.

1. This guy was our President.  Independence Day

2. Jimmy Stewart displays American idealism at its best when he shows us not every politician is corrupt.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

3. Rocky Balboa went to Russia to fight in which Rocky movie?  (Hint-There are 6)  Rocky IV

4. This Canadian guy played our President in TWO movies. You can name them both for extra points.  13 Days & National Treasure Book iof Secrets

5. The 1980 Olympics gave our hockey team the chance to show the world that Americans never give up.   Miracle

6. This high soaring thrill ride made household name of Tom Cruise.  And who can forget Iceman?   Top Gun

7. This guy was our President.  Air Force One

8. These American heroes were headed to the moon, but ran into a few problems.   Apollo 13

9. Matt Damon plays the last surviving brother and is the focus of an American hunt in WWII Europe.  Saving Private Ryan

10. In this 1942 film which President is seen from behind?  Franklin D Roosevelt

You have until Thursday night to submit your answers.  They will show up on Friday.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 30 Comments

June’s 5 Word Movie Reviews

Two documentaries in a month is unusual, but both were worthwhile.  My husband won our March Madness bet and I bet you can guess which one we saw at the theater for his third movie choice.

If you’ve seen any of the movies leave me your 1-5 words in the comments and I’ll add them to the post.  Or, if you are feeling ambitious and want to do this on your own blog leave me a link in the comments and I’ll add it to the bottom of the post.   Of course,  you can always just comment

The poster of an airport window looking onto the tarmac with a Boeing 747 at the gate. An airport sign at the top: "George Clooney", "Up in the Air", "From the Director of 'Juno' and 'Thank You For Smoking'". Three travelers silhouette from left to right: Natalie Keener (Kendrick), Ryan Bingham (Clooney), Alex Goran (Farmiga). At the bottom, tagline: "The story of a man ready to make a connection." and "Arriving this December".(2009. Cast- George Clooney,Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick)   Grade B+

Great But Ending Frustrated Me

Funny, touching, sharp and clever. (Nolatari)

  

POV: Lost Boys of Sudan(2003 documentary)                          Grade B

Fascinating.  More Questions Than Answers.

 

The actors Liam Neeson Bradley Cooper Quinton Jackson Sharlto Copley from the movie The A-Team(2010. Cast- Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson, Jessica Biel)  Grade B

Testosterone Filled.  True To Original.

Decent update, loved original more (Kay)

Silly, fun, action-filled revenge!  (Heather)

(1968. Cast- Pete O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton)  Grade B

Crazy Royal Family.  Awesome Dialogue.

Talk about a dysfunctional family. (Stephanie)

Engaging but tedious at times. (Nolatari)

(2009 documentary. Cast- LeBron James)  Grade B-

Will LeBron Stay or Go?

 

Because I Said So Poster.jpgBecause I Said So, 2007. Cast – Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Tom Everett Scott, Lauren Graham)  Grade C-

Annoyingly Meddlesome Mother. Silly daughter.

Terrible movie, adorable Gabriel Macht. (Nolatari)

July 3, 2010 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 17 Comments

Free Books for July

Leave a comment, tell me which book you want and I’ll get the book to you for FREE either by mail or personally if I’ll see you soon.  The first one to request each book wins.  Once you’ve ‘won’ the book I can get your shipping address if I need it.  Also, you can come back and get a free book every month if you want.  These have all been read a time or two.

 1. How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell. small non-fiction hardcover, published 2009, B&N review here.  for Margie

2. Sleeping Beauty by Judith Michael. paperback fiction, published 1991, B&N review here.  for Misha

3. Lion’s Bride by Iris Johansen. paperback romance, published 1996, B&N review here.  for Ester

4. Candide, Voltaire and Selected Stories by Voltaire.  classic paperback, copyright 1961, B&N review here.  for Em

Happy Reading!

July 2, 2010 Posted by | FREE | , | 11 Comments

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