Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Mailbox Monday – March 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.


1. The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley - I picked this one up at the author’s first book talk yesterday and she was fantastic. More on the talk later this week.

2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Grand Prize and Mystery & Thriller Fiction Winner

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.

2. The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston – received from St. Martin’s Press

Lilith is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch.

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes the title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her charming fiancé and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt.

3. Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles by Carole P Roman - received from Red Feather Productions

Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles is another great voyage into problem solving and friendship, as well as an adventurous trip into the imagination.

Join the Captain No Beard and his friends as they learn the value of sharing our troubles with others and that help is always there when we need it.

Did you received anything fun in your mailbox last week?

March 9, 2015 Posted by | Mailbox Monday | | 9 Comments

Traveling the States with Gage – Pennsylvania

Gage goes to school Monday-Thursday and mornings are a time he usually is willing and wanting to learn a little, so I decided to start doing a little state work each three-day weekend.

Pennsylvania: The Keystone StateExploring the States:Pennsylvania, the Keystone State. I decided to use this series I found at the library.  We start by reading through the book and then I chose some things to do 5-10 minute activities over the three days.  My goal is really just two activities  for each of the three days and then two books, this one and one more picture book.

Here’s what we did


1. Trace the state map, marked the capital,painted it, and wrote Pennsylvania. He hates to write and this week’s long state name made his unhappy and stubborn.

2. Colored and painted the very intricate state map.IMG_2532[1]

3. Used glitter glue to color the state flower, mountain laurel.

4. The book featured the Crayola Experience and factory in Easton so we did a Crayola project.

IMG_2540[1]IMG_2547[1]IMG_2553[1]IMG_2554[1]IMG_2556[1]Took the paper off broken crayons (took longer than I thought it would), mixed the colors in different muffin cups, put in the oven at 300 for about 10 minutes, pull them out one by one and drop the flimsy one all over the floor, put in the freezer, pull them out and you got some very cool looking crayon pellets.  Inspired by this pin.

Our Pennsylvania Punxsutawney Phil activities (because he was featured in the book).

5.groundhogWe read a book about Groundhog Day, made a craft and did a few papers matching objects with their shadows.  He was very happy to have his picture taken ;)

6.phil1phil2phil3(learning how to use the side of the chalk from dad)phil4Tape his feet to the paper and attach a pipe cleaner to the back to help him stand and ta-da! It’s Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow.  This pin was the inspiration.

7. Watched a video of Phil (he wasn’t all that impressed)

Keep sending me ideas for your state – especially book ideas!

Our Ohio activities.


March 7, 2015 Posted by | Gage | 13 Comments

Brief First Lines Quiz – guessing closed

Let’s see if you can guess these classics by their brief first lines.  They are tough – good luck!

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. ”It was a pleasure to burn.” Fahrenheit 451 

2.  “Howard Roark laughed.”  Fountainhead

3.  “It’s hard being left behind.” The Time Traveler’s Wife

4.  “I am an invisible man.”  Invisible Man

5.  “Call me Ishmael.”   Moby Dick

6. “A screaming comes across the sky.”  Gravity’s Rainbow

7. “124 was spiteful.”  Beloved

8.  “All this happened, more or less.”  Slaughterhouse-Five

9. ” I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”  I Capture the Castle

10.  “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”  1984

March 4, 2015 Posted by | Quizzes | | 18 Comments

The Prophet by Michael Koryta

The ProphetThe Prophet. Finished 2-17-15, rating 4.5/5 stars, thriller, pub. 2012

Unabridged audio, 11 hours 50 minutes.  Read by Robert Petkoff.

Adam Austin hasn’t spoken to his brother in years. When they were teenagers, their sister was abducted and murdered, and their devastated family never recovered. Now Adam keeps to himself, scraping by as a bail bondsman, working so close to the town’s criminal fringes that he sometimes seems a part of them. Kent Austin is the beloved coach of the local high school football team, a religious man and hero in the community. After years of near misses, Kent’s team has a shot at the state championship, a welcome point of pride in a town that has had its share of hardships. Just before playoffs begin, the town and the team are thrown into shock when horrifically, impossibly, another teenage girl is found murdered. As details emerge that connect the crime to the Austin brothers, the two must confront their buried rage and grief-and unite to stop a killer.

We get to know Adam from the very beginning and he was such a fascinating character.  Haunted by his sister’s murder and fiercely protective, he is willing to cross every line that the law has placed in his way.  Enter his brother, the football coach, the other side of the family tree is viewed as the local hero, an image he strives to cultivate every day.  When the law seems unable to protect him he isn’t afraid to ask his big brother for help if though they’ve long been estranged.

This is an excellent thriller, especially if you love football and I do.  The action centered around the high school football team and their quest for a state title, which includes a lot of play by play. It’s set in a small, Cleveland area town on Lake Erie and I knew this town even if it wasn’t real.  This book felt like the character study of two brothers and one small Ohio town and I was drawn into the bleakness and pain as much as I was into the current bad guy running around town.

This was my first Koryta read and I can’t wait to read more. Any Koryta fans out there? What should I read next?

March 3, 2015 Posted by | 4 1/2 Star Books | , | 7 Comments

Traveling the States with Gage – Ohio

Gage goes to school Monday-Thursday and mornings are a time he usually is willing and wanting to learn a little, so I decided to start doing a little state work each three-day weekend.  We, of course, started with Ohio.

I decided to use this new series I found at the library.  We started by reading through the book and then I chose some things that were in there to do 5-10 minute activities over the three days.  My goal is really just two activities  for each of the three days and then two books, this one and one more picture book.

Here’s what we did


1. Traced the state and marked the capital with a star and added some glitter glue.  Also wrote the name on the state.

2. Used the book to figure out how to color the state flag, the buckeyes, and state flower a red carnation.

3. Colored a guitar for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and marked it with a guitar sticker on the map.

4. Made the cutest little cardinal (state bird) that I found on Pinterest.

5. VIDEO-watched a video of Neil Armstrong (Ohioan) landing on the moon.

6. Read the book The Giant of Seville.

Related activity-We marked everyone’s height on the wall with a sticker and then used the tape measure to measure how high the giant was (he reached our ceiling!).  This was a good estimating activity since my parents were here.  We started by marking his height and then he had to guess who would be the next tallest each time.

IMG_2472[1]Cutting, gluing.IMG_2451[1]Tracing.giantEstimating and measuring.History!

This weekend we’re working on Pennsylvania. If you have any books or fun activities to add for your state please me know!  I am going to need new ideas :)




February 28, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

February’s movies and $ for charity

Gage is on the mend, but still fighting a cough and sinus issues. I appreciate all of your comments and messages.  It’s been a long week.  On to more fun things…

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.

We’re up to $78!

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.

The Imitation Game poster.jpgThe Imitation Game, 2014 (Cast-Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear)   Grade B+

Breaking the unbreakable code.

Important part of history memorialized.  (Kathy)

The Words 2012 Film Poster.jpgThe Words, 2012 (Cast-Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde)       Grade B+

Thoughtful look at life’s decisions.


The Other Woman (2014 film) poster.jpgThe Other Woman, 2014 (Cast-Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau)           Grade B-

Women sharing man get revenge.

Sweet revenge, chicks before d*cks.  (Sheree)


TheWeddingRingerPoster.jpgThe Wedding Ringer, 2015 (Cast-Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting)      Grade   B-

Money can buy fake friends!


The Tourist Poster.jpgThe Tourist, 2010 (Cast-Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Pauil Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton)      Grade C

Well, Venice is always beautiful.

Not an attractive Johnny Depp. ;)  (Michelle)


February 27, 2015 Posted by | 5 Word Movie Reviews | | 7 Comments

Is it Wednesday?

I have a very sick kid at home so I have completely lost track of what day it is.  Please send some positive, healing prayers his way :)

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The Giant of Seville by Dan Andreasen

Giant of Seville: A The Giant of Seville

32 pages, published 2007

Dan Andreasen

In the 1870s, a circus giant named Captain Martin Van Buren Bates left the circus and set off to find a town where he and his wife (also a circus giant) could live in peace. Captain Bates happened on Seville, Ohio, a sleepy little town that charmed him from the moment he arrived and welcomed him with open arms.

from Goodreads

This book is based on a true story set in a town not far from here.  I met the author/illustrator at the Ohio Book Festival and while I was having him sign my book to Gage a few women came up and started talking about how their parents would tell them this story when they we young and even point out the giant’s house as they drove by.  They seemed to agree that the house was no longer standing today.  If you are interested in the real giant you can read more on Wikipedia for details or teaching supports check here.

Martin grew to be 7″11′ and 525 pounds and his wife, from what I found, was even taller.  When they decided to retire from the circus, Martin took the train (a big fave with Gage)  to find a new home for the super-sized couple and he found a welcoming town in northern Ohio.  I loved this story about the man who did not fit social norms but was accepted anyway.  The illustrations and quality of the book are top-notch.  Some of the language might be challenging for younger kids but I think that’s a good thing.  This is a great tall tale from a small town in my great state :)

So, this weekend I started doing some mini-lessons on the 50 States with Gage.  Ohio was first so we focused on this book, but I’m looking for recommendations for my near future states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virgina).  Let me know!

kid konnection newBooking Mama hosts Kid Konnection every Saturday if you are interested in checking out other posts about kids books.


February 21, 2015 Posted by | Kids Books | | 6 Comments

TLC Book Tour & GIVEAWAY! The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

The Serpent of Venice: A NovelThe Serpent of Venice.

TLC Book Tour here.  I want to thank TLC for providing a book for the giveaway!

Venice, a really long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from Britain who also happens to be a favorite of the Doge: the rascal-Fool, Pocket.

This trio of cunning plotters—the merchant, Antonio; the senator, Brabantio; and the naval officer, Iago—have lured Pocket to a dark dungeon, promising a spirited evening with a rare Amontillado sherry and a fetching young noblewoman. Their invitation is, of course, a ruse. The wine is drugged; the girl is nowhere in sight. These scoundrels have something far less amusing planned for the man who has consistently foiled their quest for power and wealth. But this Fool is no fool . . . and the story is only beginning.

Once again, Christopher Moore delivers a rousing literary satire and a cast Shakespeare himself would be proud of: Shylock; Iago; Othello; a dozen or so disposable villains; a cadre of comely wenches; the brilliant Fool; his sidekick, Drool; his monkey, Jeff; a lovesick sea serpent; and a ghost (there’s always a bloody ghost).

Wickedly witty and outrageously inventive, The Serpent of Venice pays cheeky homage to the Bard and illuminates the absurdity of the human condition as only Christopher Moore can.

If you haven’t tried a Christopher Moore novel then you haven’t tried everything.  My first Moore reading was Lamb:The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal and I was amazed at the quality of the story and storytelling.  Irreverent is how I often describe it.  And with this novel, I am back on board the Moore bandwagon.  As I mention any chance I get, I love Venice.  It was my first overseas trip and that amazing city will always have a place in my heart so when I saw that Moore was taking on Venice AND Shakespeare (another love of mine) I knew I’d have to read it.

The sheer amount of talent it took to connect some of Shakespeare’s more recognizable characters from The Merchant of Venice, Othello and King Lear (with a little Edgar Allen Poe walled in) is impressive.  Moore’s sense of humor and wit is on prominent display in this over-the-top homage.

One of the main characters, Pocket, a favorite of the Doge who shows up first in Fool, grew on me as did this whole assembly of colorful characters.  There was sex, murder, revenge, resurrection, a monster, Marco Polo, and love.  Not bad for a few hours of delightful reading.

I don’t think Moore’s comic genius is for everyone.  You have to be willing to buy into the crazy.  And then you have to be able to tolerate, if not appreciate, quite a bit of juvenile boy language.  If you can do those two things I think you are a candidate for the Christopher Moore bandwagon.  Hop on in!

I HAVE A COPY TO GIVE AWAY!  To celebrate the release of the paperback edition I will randomly select one lucky winner on February 28th.  You’ll want to enter even if you are on the fence about the story because the cover is gorgeous and fun and you’ll want it on your shelves.  Open internationally.

To enter just tell me you want entered in a comment and you’re done.  If you want an extra entry you can Tweet about it and/or post about it on your blog.  Just let me know you did.  Good luck!

February 18, 2015 Posted by | 4 Star Books, FREE | , | 13 Comments

No quiz

My computer keeps shutting off every five – ten minutes so I’m saving myself some stress by not wasting any more time on it today :)

February 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments


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