Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

Sundays with Gage- Preston’s Hope

When you have a toddler in the house it is sometimes difficult to find enough to entertain the ball of energy and a few weeks ago we discovered the coolest park for Gage.  Preston’s Hope is a $3 million dollar park made for ALL kids, including those with disabilities.  And it’s free.  Click here and you can see the overview of the park and how massive it is.  Then let Gage take you through the place :)  If you have small kids in Northeast Ohio this is a must see.  It’s easy to spend a lot of time there and I just love what the park represents - ALL kids playing together.  Seriously, click here to see how big it is.  We are very lucky to only be 10 minutes away.  A perfect place for a bored child.

July 22, 2012 Posted by | Gage | | 15 Comments

The Duke of Cleveland by Les Roberts

The Duke of Cleveland (Milan Jacovich Series #6)The Duke of Cleveland, Finished 5-28-12, rating 4/5, mystery series, 257 pages, pub. 1995

Book 6 of the Milan Jacovich series (Book 1) (Book 2) (Book 3) (Book 4) (Book 5)

Les is an adopted Clevelander.  He had a successful career in Hollywood and was in Cleveland for a job when he fell in love with the city.  In 1990 he moved to Cleveland and calls it his spiritual home.  His website is here.  Les gets the city and its suburbs just right in this mystery series set in Cleveland and I highly recommend it.  This is the second stop on my Ohio tour.

They looked pretty much the way they had for a hundred years or more, solid and functional.  But like the steel mills that define the banks of the Cuyahoga River, the semideserted factories near downtown Cleveland have a terrible beauty.  They stand for an era that has practically faded from consciousness, the days when the industrial Northeast and Midwest set the pulse of America, and her immigrant sons and daughters made her sing.

Chapter 2 

Slovenian private detective Milan Jacovich is a tough middle-aged man who displays his old-fashioned morals as a shield for all to see.  Never one to turn away from a fight he’s been in a scrape or two and has always come out in one piece.  When a rich girl with nothing but attitude comes to him to find her missing boyfriend, he takes the case.  What starts as a search for loser Jeff Feldman turns into a wild goose chase for a rare piece of porcelain, which brings him, once again, into the Cleveland mob’s web.

Milan is such a real character.  He is proud of his ethnicity and he’s proud of his two sons, hoping he’s being the best dad he can be since he only sees them on weekends.

Looking at my two loves, I wondered if there was anything a parent could really do, that I could do, that would guarantee them honor and decency and whatever measure of happiness the future might hold.  Or is life simply a dangerous crapshoot?

Chapter 19

How can you not love a man who loves his boys so dearly?  This series is full of interesting characters and a real insight into the city and it’s underbelly.  The mystery, as always is top notch.

I love this series and although I recommend you read them in order (because that’s what I do) this could certainly be read as a stand alone.

This was from my personal library.

May 30, 2012 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , | 12 Comments

Donating Books

I have two purposes for this post.  The first is to thank giveaway hosts and to accept donations from any of you who would like to donate to a good cause.  The second is to share info on this very cool book that I won from Dawn at  She is Too Fond of Books.  This may be long because I’m in a rambling mood.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned New Clevelanders, a welcome group for ladies who move to the east side of Cleveland.  We’ve lived here almost 10 years now and I’ve been involved with New Clevelanders for 8 of those years.  The great thing about this social group is that they never kick you out :)  When you move without kids or a job it is very difficult to meet people so this group was essential to my mental health.  There are around 150 members right now and I’m in my fifth year on the board, my second year publishing the 8 page monthly newsletter.  It is mainly a place to make friends, so many of the activities are for fun, but once a year we have a British Tea at a country club where we drink tea, dine on some delicious food and raise money for a local charity.  Last year we raised over $11,000 for the Karen P Nakon Breast Cancer Foundation.  We mainly raise the money by silent auctions on many donated items.  I always donate a Mary Kay basket, but there are big ticket items like Cleveland Cavs tickets, Florida condos for a week, etc.

I have been blessed to win many books over the past few months from many of you awesome book bloggers.  I decided to keep only a few a donate the rest for a nice basket of books to be auctioned or raffled off for the British Tea.  This year we are raising money for Providence House, a crisis nursery offering emergency shelter to children.  So, I want to thank all of you who have randomly chosen me as the winner of your book giveaways :) 

Interested in New Clevelanders?  Click on over.  Do you have a new book that you’d like to donate to the cause?  Let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me and I’ll get you my address.  I have about 3 weeks before I need it done. 

Now on to my second book donation topic.  I won Give + Take from Dawn and there are were a few rules.  Concord Free Press published this book for free and they only ask that you donate to a charity in the amount of your choice.  Then you read the book and pass it on to someone who agrees to do the same.  I have made my donation to The City Mission on Cleveland that do amazing things for the homeless, the poor, the addicted.   I volunteered there a few years ago by sorting the donated clothes once a week and I have the greatest respect for the place.  So, I made my donation and logged it on the website.  Next week I plan to read the book and then pass it along.  If you would like to be the next person to read this book, make a donation, and pass it on, let me know. 

March 13, 2010 Posted by | Bookish Stuff | , | 14 Comments

17 inches and counting

Just a few photos from around the yard.  We are expecting snow through Friday.

Wanna come over for lunch or a dip in the hot tub?

Still not sure?  Max would love to play in the snow with you :)

January 4, 2010 Posted by | Photos | , | 20 Comments

The Cleveland Connection, by Les Roberts

The Cleveland Connection (Milan Jacovich Series #4) by Les Roberts: Book CoverFinished 12-30-09, rating 4/5, mystery, pub. 1993

Book 4 in the Milan Jacovich mystery series

I don’t kid myself that I’m changing the world during my brief tenure here, but I’d like to believe I’m at least making a little dent.  I think we all nurture a secret terror that our living and dying will go unremarked, unmourned, that unlike Jimmy Stewart in that perennial Christmas movie, our life won’t make a damn bit of difference to anyone.

Chapter 2

Milan is a 40 year-old divorced police officer turned private detective who has spent his whole life in Cleveland, Ohio.  When an old classmate hires him to find her missing grandfather and his good friend, Ed, starts receiving death threats, Milan is forced to bully, and bribe, and hope that he will still be in one piece when the day is done.  There’s never a neighborhood bar he can’t find trouble in and rarely a woman not interested in this ex-football player. 

There are many mysteries to be solved, but the main focus is on war criminals of World War II and the losses of the Serbians at the hand of the Nazis.  It’s an interesting history lesson of the war and of Cleveland.  Roberts really does capture the vibe of this city I live in the shadow of.

This book is much more introspective than the first three.  Milan is single and lonely and it has made him melancholy.  Milan is a great character who is always trying to do the right thing, but the right thing is not always black or white.  I never know for sure what side Milan will come down on in complicated issues and that makes him a very interesting character. 

I love this series and think it only gets better with each book.  Roberts manages to keep many storylines going at once without ever confusing the reader and I appreciate that I can never see how it’s all going to come together until the end. 

This book was from my personal library.

December 30, 2009 Posted by | 4 Star Books | , , | 3 Comments

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

What’s the best caption quiz?

We have a split decision…

“Sadly, the snow covering Stacy did not melt until mid-March.”  (Mark)

and

“Yeah, now I remember why I moved to Cleveland.”  (Betty)

100_07122

I took this photo of Jason yesterday.  This week’s quiz—-

What is the best caption for this photo?  I’ll post your caption with the photo and a link back to your blog if you have one.  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!  I’ll pick the best one on Friday.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Photos | , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

It’s beginning to look a lot like…Thanksgiving?

Max enjoying the weatherMax loves the snow.  Don’t ya love the two lawn chairs still outside?

a tree in our front yard

We are expecting lots more snow here in Cleveland.  How about you?

November 25, 2008 Posted by | Photos | , | 4 Comments

Full Cleveland, by Les Roberts

Cover ImageFinished 9-18-08, rating 3/5, mystery, pub. 1989

“Cleveland is a great city.  When the people who live here start believing it and stop heeding the knocks in the press and the bad jokes on television, things are going to be all right.”   -Chapter 7

Private detective and ex-cop Milan Jacovich is back in his second Cleveland mystery.  A few of his friends are back to help him in his latest case and his girlfriend, Mary, is there to add comfort.  Milan is hired to track down a man who has swindled local businesses and with this new job comes a sidekick appointed by the mob.  Sidekick Buddy provides extra muscle and some comic relief while the two of them track down suspects.  Milan is shot at and kills and drinks way too much.

This mystery series brings the neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio to life and anyone who enjoys reading and lives in the Cleveland area should really check this series out.  The first chapter took Milan and Mary to Johnny’s downtown, which is a favorite of mine and the neighborhoods are described with ethnic flavor and pride.  Actually, I think this series would be a perfect gift for anyone moving to the area.

I enjoyed the first book a little more than this one, but would still recommend this one.  Who knew Cleveland could be so exciting?

September 18, 2008 Posted by | 3 Star Books | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pepper Pike, by Les Roberts

Cover ImageFinished 6-12-08, rating 3.5/5, mystery, pub. 1988

 “Cleveland is a pretty good place to live, I guess, if you don’t mind the weather.”    Chapter 4

This is the first in the Milan Jacovich mystery series.  Milan is an ex-cop and current private investigator.  He is called one night to play body guard for 12 hours, only when he arrives, there is no body to guard.  The next morning he is contacted by the wife of the missing man and Milan is hired to find him.

Milan is forced to come in close contact with the rich of the CEOs and politicians to the powerful of the mob.  He is shot at and beaten up and in the end, shoots someone too.  Where is the mysterious Richard and is he still alive?  While trying to answer this question, Milan finds himself dating Richard’s ex-mistress and getting kicked out of the Chagrin Valley.

This book is wonderful in its depiction of Cleveland.  There are so few books that are set in this city and is the perfect backdrop for this gritty detective.  It’s nice to feel at home as you sit down to read.  I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | 3 1/2 Star Books | , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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