Category Archives: Book – Movie – TV Reviews

New Book

The Reader’s Nook via Cathy Ruggiero

One of my favorite authors is Nora Roberts. I like the worlds she creates. I like the characters. I enjoy reading some of her trilogies (and what do you call a 4-some?) over and over again. I slide into her world, forget my problems, see old friends again.

For years and years I have resisted her series written as J.D. Robb. It bothered me that they wouldn’t be like her ‘normal’ writing that I loved. For some reason I decided I just didn’t want to try them.

Marsha, a good friend of mine, told me that she LOVED the J.D. Robb “In Death” series. She convinced me to try one. I bought it used on Amazon for the price of shipping.

I’m hooked. Eve Dallas, the main character, is a detective in a world of the future. She’s an interesting, many-layered woman you want to know. I would like to be her friend. I’m fascinated and admire her. She has courage and grit, and yet remains vulnerable. The world is very different from the one we live in, and yet in the ways that matter, it’s the same.

There are 45 books in the series so far. I’ve bought 12 of them and am in the middle of a great adventure!

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If You Have

Marcus Tullius Cicero via Om Times Magazine via Cathy Ruggiero

 

I’ve told you about some of the books I’ve been reading lately – ones about the White House written by people who worked as support staff for a gazillion years. It’s very interesting to me to get impressions of our presidents, first ladies, and their families, plus what was happening while they were in the White House by people who were loyal to the country and the ‘house,’ rather than one party or another, having to change with each new administration.  I’m on my third one now.

I’m also into Nora Roberts – writing as J.D. Robb – in her series of “In Death” books. I have avoided them for years because when I really like an author, I don’t usually enjoy the things they do to ‘cleanse their palate’ before they write another of their more usual style books. I was told by a good friend that this series was one of her favorites, so I bought a used book from Amazon – the first in the series. Now I’m on #4 and hooked. The main character is a strong female detective who impresses me with her character and tenaciousness, as well as her guts.

I told you recently about an author new to me, Douglas E. Richards. He wrote The Cure, and I almost couldn’t put it down. All I can suggest is that you don’t start it late at night if you want to get to sleep any time soon. Since reading that one, my husband told me that he had several of Richards books on his Kindle. Since we have a sharing set up, I was able to ‘deliver’ the other books my husband had to my Kindle Fire. It makes me feel rich to know they’re waiting for me. :0)

Today I’m going to get more plants to put in our garden! I told you recently that we had finished converting our square foot garden into a RAISED BED square foot garden. This was a LOT of work for these old folks, but well worth the struggle. I now have SIX 4’x4′ x 8″ deep boxes on legs, like tables, about my chest height, filled with Mel’s Mix now and marked with string to make the squares. The only thing planted right now is some Georgia Sweet onion sets.

I’m going to get a good number of plants today, since it looks like our area in Arkansas MAY be free from more hard freezes (although the average last frosts aren’t over, according to the books, until April 10th.). I’m going to risk it and get some plants into the ground.

The main thing I want to grow is as many kinds of lettuce and similar plants as I can. I love to go out and cut leaves for our salads at lunch or in the evening. I’ll also be looking for spinach plants, although I usually have trouble finding those. I’ve started some seed on my window sill, but I don’t know if I’ll be successful.

I have celery and spaghetti squash plants I started inside that I’ll transfer to the garden after they’ve spent a few days on the back porch getting used to the outside temperatures. I’ll be looking for broccoli and cauliflower, and I’ll be starting radishes. That’ll be a good start.  I’ll take pics to share with you as things come together.

“If you have a Garden and a Library, you have everything you need.”

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Filed under Attitude, Book - Movie - TV Reviews, Favorite Quotes, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Great Book for a Rainy Day

I Love Reading Books via Cathy Ruggiero

I Love Reading Books via Cathy Ruggiero

Since we’re having a rainy, raw day here, I’m feeling very lucky to have a warm, dry house and a good book to read!

I started reading Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies, by J.B. West and Mary Lynn Kotz.

It covers a behind the scenes look at some of our first ladies, from Eleanor Roosevelt through Ladybird Johnson from the standpoint of the Chief Usher at the White House for about 30 years.  I’m finding it educational and extremely interesting. I have to admit my ignorance at not even knowing the White House HAD a chief usher, or his duties. Getting his reactions to what was happening in history, and the daily work in the White House during this period really gives you a different perspective on what you thought you knew, plus insights you didn’t have before. I highly recommend this book.

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The Cure

The Cure by Douglas E. Richards

The Cure by Douglas E. Richards

 

“Erin Palmer had a devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child. Now a grad student and scientist, she’s devoting her life to studying these monsters. When her research catches the attention of Hugh Raborn, a brilliant neuroscientist who claims to have isolated the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, Erin realizes it may be possible to reverse the condition, restoring souls to psychopaths. But to do so, she’ll not only have to operate outside the law, but violate her most cherished ethical principles.”

This author was new to me. My husband passed me the book, saying that he thought I might like it. I was unable to sleep night before last, so came downstairs to read awhile. I started this book, reading half of it before I absolutely could not hold my eyes open a moment longer. I stayed up late to finish it the next night.

I love stores with intelligent, strong women. I’m going to look for more by this author.

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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates

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Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Recently I recommended George Washington and the Secret Six by these same authors. I am again in awe of their ability to make the book hard to put down, even when you know the ending before you start!

These two men make history, and the men who made it, REAL.

My husband is a former Marine, so I’ve hummed along with the Marine Corp Hymn for much of my life –

“From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli
We fight our country’s battles
In the air, on land, and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean.
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.”

I’m proud of my husband’s service, but never really thought about what the hymn meant. I didn’t realize that our confrontations regarding freedom to sail in International waters with 4 Muslim worlds began so early, actually starting in Washington’s term as president, but not actually solved until Madison’s.

I have a better understanding of what happened at that time, the reason for the Marine Corp Hymn, and the reason that the dress uniform of the Marine Corp includes a Mameluke sword. I also have a better appreciation for how hard it was to coordinate military efforts at that time.

Again, I highly recommend anything written by these collaborating authors. I’ll watch for their next book.

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Inferno

Since we recently put “Inferno” in our Netflix queue, I bought the book to read. I always enjoy reading the book first and then watching the movie. I like it so much, I’ve now given it to my husband to read.

I’m probably the last person on the planet to read the book, but if you haven’t read it, you’re in for a real treat. Warning, though – if you have other things you really need to do, don’t start it until you’ve cleared a bit of your schedule.

The blurb on the Amazon website says,

“In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.”

To add my personal note, I found the characters well-drawn and real. I cared about all of them. I even felt a bit sorry for the ‘villain,’ in that his strong beliefs – built throughout his life – were ignored.  The story was a strong one, really keeping my interest. I also loved the virtual guide through many wonderful places all over the world. The descriptions were wonderful, obviously from someone who knew and appreciated antiquity, history, art, and other cultures. I now have a whole list of places I’ll Google, hoping for good pictures. :0)

If you’ve already read it, I would love to hear what you thought. If you haven’t read it, I hope you’ll treat yourself to a real experience.

Since I love Tom Hanks, I’m now looking forward to seeing the movie.

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George Washington’s Secret Six

When I was in the 2nd grade, I wanted to learn about our presidents. I went to the school library and was delighted to find a whole series of blue books that covered ALL of our presidents! I avidly read them. It was a lot of work for a second-grader, but I really wanted to LEARN. Later I discovered that I had worked really hard to read what was essentially drivel. “Washington cut down the cherry tree” type of dis-information, rather than facts.

I STILL get angry when I think of the time I wasted. I really find it hard to believe that the library gave the series shelf space. I’m disgusted with myself for not realizing until much later that I had been fooled.

I was a ‘good student.’ I followed the rules, didn’t get into trouble, made really good grades, but essentially learned very little in the public schools. I then went to college, earning a degree in elementary education, and following that with a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist. I still feel the same way about my education.

Now that I’m older than dirt, the only one I can really blame is myself. I COULD have made the time to get books that would have told me what I wanted to know, that would have excited me to learn more, to really know about the history of the United States, and facts about our presidents, our wars, our successes and our failures.

Recently I read George Washington’s Secret Six – The Spy Ring that Saved the American Revolution. The authors are Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.

I’m STILL excited.

I learned so many things I didn’t know! I had never heard of the Secret Six. I had no appreciation for the fact that after the Declaration of Independence was signed, it was 7 long years of fighting before our actual independence was won by brave men and women in all walks of life, doing what they could for their country. As in anything, there was a lot of controversy. People felt it was prudent, in many cases, to keep a low profile about their politics and loyalties.

I was amazed at the code they devised to be able to communicate without being caught. I never realized how close we came to LOSING the Revolutionary War. I have a new appreciation for ‘regular’ people risking their lives, and that of their families and future, to do what they could to help.

I went to Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, and I can recite his famous quote – but I had no real appreciation for how young he was – how he gave up his whole future to try to help.  I didn’t realize he was one of MANY young, idealistic people who lived in the midst of British loyalists, trying to get information that would help the rebels win, or how quickly the loyalists would turn over someone to the British trying to get that information, because they were “ruining” the loyalists’ way of life.

gw

I feel awful that I didn’t know this before, but I’m very glad I found this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to learn more about George Washington, Benedict Arnold, The Revolutionary War, our push to win freedom from the British.  I’ve ordered, and just received, the next book in the series, Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates – The Forgotten War that Changed American History.

Maybe there’s hope for me yet! :0)

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“Money Monster”

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IMDb

“Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.”

This movie stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Connell. My husband and I watched it last night and we both were impressed. It was directed by Jodie Foster. There wasn’t a dead spot in the movie and we both held our breaths until the end. Neither Clooney nor Roberts played on their good looks. The acting was superb and the plot believable. It was amazing that we actually felt sorry for the ‘bad guy’, who took over the TV station and threatened all of their lives.

We highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it.

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“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”

IMDb

IMDb

My husband and I watched this a couple of nights ago. The synopsis reads, “A journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan.”

The movie managed to do two things

  • give a picture of what it would be like to be in the middle of a war where women are considered property, rather than people, facing untold danger
  • manages to blunt the corners of a terrible situation, allowing you to look at it from a different perspective
  • shows you the length journalists must go to get a good story, and to maintain their jobs and status

I was really impressed with Tina Fey as one of the journalists. Although there were several times she probably wouldn’t have survived in the real situation, I left impressed with the gutsiness of her character, her determination to do the best possible reporting that she could, while being very human.

The movie was a combination of gritty and humorous, if you can believe it. The title is indicative of the tongue-in-cheek attitude in parts of the movie.

I would like to read what you think of it.

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Criminal

IMDb

IMDb

My husband and I watched this movie last night. We were impressed.

It stars Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Godot, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman and others.  Though it’s pretty violent in spots, there are understandable reasons for it, rather than it being gratuitous.  The acting was very good and I cared about what happened to the people in the story. The plot was a really creative, interesting idea – one that caused a lot of discussion afterwards.

The story summary is “In a last-ditch effort to stop a diabolical plot, a dead CIA operative’s memories, secrets, and skills are implanted into a death-row inmate in hopes that he will complete the operative’s mission.”  – IMDb

My husband and I are in agreement that we’ll want to see this again, and will be buying the DVD for our collection.

If you’ve seen it, I would be very interested to hear what you think.

 

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“Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium”

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My husband taped this for me a couple of nights ago and I’m still feeling good after watching it.

Mr. Mogorium’s Wonder Emporium stars Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Zach Mills, and Jason Bateman. The actors are perfect for the roles they play.

“Magic flows freely through the walls and toys within the Wonder Emporium. But when Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman), the store’s 243-year-old proprietor, decides to turn the reins over to his manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), mysterious changes creep over the Emporium. Molly and Henry (Jason Bateman), an accountant, must discover the magic within themselves if they are ever to revive the now-quiet toys.”

This is a delightful movie. A really feel-good, uplifting movie. The only thing that could have been better was that the movie be longer. I have now ordered the DVD so that I can watch it over and over again, whenever I’m feeling a bit down.

I lost myself in their magical world. I would love to be able to visit this toy store and call the people in it my friends.

If this sounds good, try it. Let me know what you think.

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Furry Logic

FurryLogic

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