Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before YouMe Before You. Finished 2-4-15, fiction, 5/5 stars!, pub. 2012

Unabridged audio narrated by Susan Lyons, Andrew Wincott, Alex Tregear, Anna Bentinck, Steven Crossley, Owen Lindsay.  14.75 hours.

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

from Goodreads

Sometimes when there is a lot (and by that I mean too-many-to-count favorite lists since it was published) of hype surrounding a book I like to wait because I want my expectations to fade a bit.  I read Jo Jo Moyes book, The Girl You Left Behind, and loved it so when I heard bloggers saying that they loved this one even more I knew I had to read it.  I chose the audio because I’d heard it was good and it was.  Susan Lyons became the loveable Lou Clark and carried the story beautifully.  There were a small cast of other characters all with their own voices and it totally worked.

I almost feel like whatever I say has been said before and anything beyond that will spoil it for those three people who haven’t read it.  So maybe I’ll just give 3 things I loved best and then ask 3 questions for those who have read it.  Bottom Line-Loved it and it’s sure to end up on my favorite list at the end of the year!

Loved-Lou’s accessibility and charm. She had no great ambition and sometimes I wanted to give her a shake, but she was so real, fiery, and vulnerable.

Loved-The story focused around Will, a paralyzed man in his 30’s, and it showed the abilities and hardships of someone who must rely on others for every personal need.  It isn’t a life without happiness, but is a life full of struggle.

Loved-The end. Sometimes what we fear is what moves us forward on a new path.

Questions for those who have read it…

How do you think the book handled the right to die debate?

Let’s cast the movie!  Who is Lou and who is Will?

Did you cry and how many times?

I’ll answer when you do :)


February 10, 2015 Posted by | 5 Star Books | | 11 Comments

Mailbox Monday – February 9

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.

Gage received a thoughtful gift from Kay. A train postcard, two train books and an engineer cap.  Thanks so much Kay – you’re the best! (the hat does fit, but I only had time to throw it on his head before he was on the move again)


Last week I went to Barnes & Noble for some retail therapy.  I bought lots of gifts and one for myself.  Since I loved Garden Spells I am excited about this one.

IMG_2290First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

What was in your mailbox this week?

February 9, 2015 Posted by | Mailbox Monday | | 14 Comments

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

You Should Have KnownYou Should Have Known. Finished 1-21-15, rating 4/5, fiction, 464 pages, pub. 2014

Received from Goodreads as part of the 1st Reader program.  I did read AND listen to this one.

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself, devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice. Grace is also the author of You Should Have Known, a book in which she castigates women for not valuing their intuition and calls upon them to examine their first impressions of men for signs of serious trouble later on. But weeks before the book is published, a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

from Goodreads

Grace, Grace, Grace, oh how hard you were to take with your sanctimonious habit of telling people what they had done wrong, all the while guilty of the same thing yourself!  Your utter lack of self-awareness was headache inducing.  The love and adoration you showered on your son could have been shared with a few others… your husband, your father, a friend.  Instead you lived in this bubble of what you thought your life ought to be and was, so full of pride that you had made it reality and it made me disgusted with you.  Not only were you judgemental, you were clueless.  Clueless about your husband and everything that came after him.  I should have felt more sympathy for you than I did, but you wanted to live in denial, not knowing the truth unless it was thrust upon you and that just made you unlikable and weak.

I do wish you well, seeing you come out the other side of your nightmare gave me a little hope for your future. I hope you grab it with both hands and keep your eyes wide open.  Can’t say that I see your new business working out, but hey, you just might be determined enough to make it happen.

Good Luck,

A gal who sorta liked reading about your train wreck

February 5, 2015 Posted by | 4 Star Books | | 5 Comments

Think Fast Quiz! – guessing closed

Guess as many as you can, one or ten. Okay, this week I will give you a word and you tell me the FIRST book title you think of that contains that word.  (or you can take your time and think about what other quiz takers might say)  I will award points based on how many people guess the same title as you – the more people who guess a specific title the more points each person will get.  I get to play this week, yay!

No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome :)  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

I’ve listed the top vote getters for each word. My favorite was BLUE, only 2 people guessed the same title!

1. RED - The Red Tent (4)

2. ONE – One For the Money (4)

3. TIME – The Time Traveler’s Wife (5)

4. WINTER - Winter’s Garden (4)

5. BLUE – Blue Monday (2)

6. TWO - A Tale of Two Cities (5) & Two for the Dough (5)

7. GIRL - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (7)

8. WHITE – The Woman in White (3)

9. HOUSE - Little House on the Prairie (3)

10. SONG – The Executioner’s Song (3) & Song of Solomon (3)

Answers to last week Snowy quiz here.  Leaderboard and extra stuff here.

February 4, 2015 Posted by | Quizzes | | 22 Comments

Sundays with Gage – a snowy day and a winner

Our morning in pictures


And a winner from my Blogiversary post…

IMG_2201Lloyd! (the book sage)  Congratulations, there’s a B&N gift card on the way :)

and I asked you all to vote for my 2015 profile pics and you overwhelmingly chose 2011 so you’ll be seeing both of these imges on the blog this year.  Thanks for voting and taking the time to comment :)

2011(Chagrin Falls)(Northport, Michigan)

February 1, 2015 Posted by | Gage | , | 20 Comments

January’s Movies & $ for charity

A good movie 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 $65!

PK Theatrical Poster.jpgPK, 2014 (Cast-Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani    Grade A

God is hard to find.

Selma poster.jpgSelma, 2014 (Cast-David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Common)   Grade A

Calculating MLK brings real change.

Chris Kyle is wearing desert fatigues army outfit, his wife Taya embraces him. They are standing in front of a tattered US flag.American Sniper, 2014 (Cast-Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller)     Grade B

Soldiers fight for each other.

Sniper married tours of duty.   (Sheree)


Hyde park on hudson poster.jpgHyde Park on Hudson, 2012 (Cast-Bill Murray, Laura Linney)   Grade C+

Why so many women Frank?


BadWords2014.jpgBad Words, 2013 (Cast-Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Allison Janney, Philip Baker Hall)      Grade C-

Harassing kids is never cool.


Waiting-poster.jpgWaiting, 2005 (Cast-Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris)       Grade C-

Still waiting…for more laughs.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | 5 Word Reviews, movies | , | 11 Comments

1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 31-60

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

Time to catch you up on my 1001 Albums project I started last summer.  Originally I started listening and dancing with Gage, but this round he wasn’t allowed to hear a few of the albums.  I listened to some rap this go round, but evened it out with lots of Beatles and U2.  I’m still playing with how I want to do these posts (since I know they are more for me than for you) so this time I’m going to list all the albums, one sentence from the book, and then a link to my favorite song of each album.   Listing them in the order I listened to them.

My three favorites were Tapestry by Carole King, Velvet Underground and Nico, and Abbey Road by The Beatles.  See any of your favorites?

All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2002) by U2.  This is an album of epic proportions and no filler (“In our heads we’ve written 11 singles for this record,” commented Bono).  Fave-Beautiful Day

Joshua Tree (1987) by U2. The Joshua Tree marks the point in U2’s long and gloriously inconsistent career at which they woke up to the possibilities of studio technology, expanded their sound from a post-punk chug, and found grandeur, abstraction, and finesse.  Fave- With or Without You

War (1983) by U2.  U2’s third album saw the Dublin four-piece articulate their impassioned views on politics and the human condition. Fave-Bloody Sunday

The Visitors (1981) by ABBA. It would have been unreasonable to expect an album by divorcees to be as joyful asn uplifting as an album by two married couples. Fave-When All is Said and Done

Dirt (1992) by Alice in Chains. The record was laden with allusions to lead singer Staley’s drug addiction, a portent to his fatal overdose a decade after the album’s release. Fave-Would

Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969) by Crosby, Stills & Nash. But this first, excellent three-quarters of an hour of wistful exuberance remains a landmark. Fave-Marrakesh Express

Tapestry (1971) by Carole King. Carole King dramatically reinvented herself as a solo star with this landmark release.  Fave-I Feel the Earth Move

Destroyer (1976) by Kiss. Destroyer is the iconic Kiss Album.  Fave-Beth

Station To Station (1976) by David Bowie. Increasingly paranoid, he had become obsessed with UFOs, occultism, and Adolf Hitler.  Fave-Word on a Wing

Boston (1976) by Boston. Boasts melodic rockers, flashing guitars, powerhouse rhythms, and sweet cascading vocals.  Fave- More Than A Feeling

2112 (1976) by Rush. Rush’s trademark sound-prog-meets-heavy rock-comes fully into its own on this record.  Fave-Tears

Wish You Were Here (1975) by Pink Floyd. “At the beginning of the recording sessions most of us didn’t wish we were there at all, we wished we were somewhere else.” Fave-Wish You Were Here

Ready to Die (1994) by The Notorious B.I.G.  It’s a strange album in that the first cut says…’Let’s stop killing each other’-and then the rest of the record is all about people killing each other! I refuse to choose a favorite because I had to listen to the guy have sex.

Appetite for Destruction (1987) by Guns N’ Roses. They looked cool, they swore, they fought, they-let’s bite the bullet-rocked.  Fave- Paradise City

Nevermind (1991) by Nirvana. Kurt later complained about the slickness of the album’s sound.  Fave-Come As You Are

MTV Unplugged (1994) by Nirvana. When he sighs, in a moment of silence just before the climatic closing section, it seems the weight of the world is crushing him.  Fave-Where Did You Sleep Last Night

In Utero (1993) by Nirvana. The grunge landmark of the 1990’s. fave-All Apologies

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) by The Velvet Underground. Its straight talk about sex and drugs got the album banned on New York radio; stations elsewhere in the United States simply ignored it. Fave-Sunday Morning

Illmatic (1994) by Nas. Fusing old-school street poetry  with razor sharp production. Fave-One Love

Stardust (1978) by Willie Nelson. With Willie Nelson there is no country or pop, just Willie Nelson songs.  Fave-Blue Skies

Red Headed Stranger (1975) by Willie Nelson. It was also something of a formal experiment, a loose concept album about a lovelorn murderer’s adventures.  Fave-Medley:Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger.

Straight Outta Compton (1989) by N.W.A.  Niggaz With Attitude were the fruit of Easy E’s entrepreneurship.  Offensive in every way that it was intended so I’m not choosing a favorite.

The Atomic Mr. Basie (1957) by Count Basie. “I have never bragged on anything, but (the Atomic Basie)band…was one I could have bragged on.  Fave- The Kid from Red Bank

A Hard Day’s Night (1964) by The Beatles.  For the first time on a Beatles album , all tracks are Fabs originals. Fave-It’s a Hard Day’s Night

Rubber Soul (1965) by The Beatles. The album injected mystique into FabWorld. Fave-What Goes On

With the Beatles (1963) by The Beatles. The sleeve photo is arguably the most iconic of The Beatles ever taken, as well as being one of the Sixties’ most defining images. Fave-All My Loving

Revolver (1966) by The Beatles. Revolver is cited as the point when The Beatles broke up: they paid their last paying gig weeks after its release.  Fave- Eleanor Rigby

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) by The Beatles.  The album embodied elements of psychedelia:Eastern philosophy and druggy allusions.  Fave- With a Little Help From My Friends

The Beatles (aka The White Album) (1968) by The Beatles. It mixes peerless acoustic-driven ballads with comical tales. Fave-While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Abbey Road (1967) by The Beatles. The vitriol, ecstasy, and social commentary of Lennon and McCartney is what makes Abbey Road and essential.  Fave- Come Together

List of the albums we listened to from the book(The Visitors by ABBA, Back to Black and Highway to Hell by AC/DC, 21 by Adele, Pump and Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith, School’s Out by Alice Cooper, Dirt by Alice in Chains, Among the Living by Antrax, Tidal by Fiona Apple, Funeral by Arcade Fire, The Atomic Mr. Basie by Count Basie, Abbey Road, The Beatles (white album),  A Hard Day’s Night, Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, With the Beatles by The Beatles, Parallel Lives by Blondie, Boston by Boston, Station to Station by David Bowie, Crosby Stills & Nash by Crosby Stills & Nash, Eagles and Hotel California by The Eagles, Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow, The Marshal Mathers LP and The Slim Shady LP by Eminem, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton, So and Melt by Peter Gabriel, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses, Darklands and Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain, Tapestry by Carole King,  Destroyer by KISS, Tragic Songs of Life by the Louvin Brothers, Illmatic by Nas, In Utero, MTV Unplugged in New York, and Nevermind by Nirvana, Ready to Die by The Notorious B.I.G.,  Straight Outta Compton by NWA, Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Regatta de  Blanc and Synchronicity by The Police, Elvis Presley by Elvis Presley, 2112 by Rush, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra, System of a Down by System of a Down, Dear Science by TV on the Radio, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, Joshua Tree, and War by U2, Velvet Underground & Nico by Velvet Underground,  Red Headed Stranger and Stardust by Willie Nelson, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse) 60/1001

Linkup to my past posts

1-10, 11-30

January 29, 2015 Posted by | Bookish Stuff, Music | | 4 Comments

Snowy Quiz – guessing closed

Guess as many as you can, one or ten. Include the name of the author for eextra points.

No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system :)  Play every week or just one time, you are always welcome :)  It only takes once to be eligible for a prize.

1.shinThe Shining – Stephen King


2.lionThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

3. snThe Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey

4. snoThe Snowman – Jo Nesbo

5.shiShiver – Maggie Stiefvater


6. chA Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens


7.doDoctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak


8.chiChill Factor – Sandra Brown


9.snoThe Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats


10.smSmilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Hoeg

Answers to last week Dead Actors quiz here.  Leaderboard and extra stuff here.

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Quizzes | | 23 Comments

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

The Dress Shop of Dreams: A NovelThe Dress Shop of Dreams. Finished 1-21-15, rating 4.5/5, fiction, 336 pages, pub. 2014

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.

from Goodreads

I received this from the publisher courtesy of She Reads.  You can visit to enter to win all 4 of the books for winter!

I fell under the book’s spell even though Cora is not a warm and fuzzy person.  She exists only to follow in the footsteps of her genius scientist parents who were killed when she was only five years old and to visit her grandmother at her dress shop with a side trip to the bookstore three days a week.  Walt works at the bookstore and has been in love with Cora since they were kids but his social cluelessness has not moved the relationship forward even an inch.  So, Grandmother (Etta) takes matters into her own hands (literally) by using the magic of her needle and thread to open Walt’s heart and then Cora’s, but the best intentions do not always lead to the best results and the two go off on different paths entirely.

I loved Etta and the special gift of her dresses, and this small aspect of magical realism made the book sparkle and shine.  If there were a dress shop like Etta’s in Cleveland you can be sure I’d be stopping by.  It’s the dress shop that lends the book its lightness since everything else is much more serious in nature.  Every storyline starts with a lie.  Etta has one she’s been keeping for 50 years and Cora’s search into her parent’s deaths lead to more lies and betrayal. Walt gets himself a girlfriend under false pretenses and Henry, the policeman helping Cora, knows that a lie is at the heart of his divorce.  Once the truth starts coming out then all can be forgiven.  Maybe.

It had me charmed from the beginning and once I started I didn’t want to stop.  I only wish that maybe it could have been a little bit longer because there were so many secondary characters with their own stories that I felt a little shortchanged at the end when Cora found her truth.  Perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen


January 27, 2015 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | , | 8 Comments

Mailbox Monday – January 26 and a giveaway reminder

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.

We saw American Sniper last week and I thought it was okay, generated lost of complicated discusssion.  Anyone else see it?


I received The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth from St. Martin’s Press.

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?      from Goodreads

And while visiting our local independent bookstore this weekend I saw that they had an autographed copy of one of my favorite books so I snatched it up.  They had one left if you want me to get you one!   The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell sounds like a strange book but most people who read it fall in love.

In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being “human.” Words like “provocative” and “compelling” will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.    from Goodreads

And a reminder that if you haven’t entered my blogiversay giveaway for a $20 Barnes & Noble giftcard, there’s still time!

So, what arrived in your house this week?

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Mailbox Monday | 15 Comments


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