Monday, April 23, 2018

Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos

Sometimes life leads you to unexpected places that can be both thrilling and terrifying.  Cornelia Brown manages a coffee house in Philadelphia.  A lover of old films and books, she yearns for her own Cary Grant to make her romantic dreams come true.  Then one day, Martin Grace walks in.  He not only looks like Cary Grant, but shares his wit and charm.  Cornelia is smitten.  Will love’s path walk smoothly?

Claire Hobbs is also living in Philadelphia with her mother.  She has the best mother in the world until she doesn’t.  Now at eleven years old, Claire tries to keep her life together with a mother who seems to be losing her mind.  Using her favorite plucky orphan stories, Claire tries to figure out how she can make it and hide her mother’s conditions.  She needs help, but where can she get it?

Love Walked In was the April pick for the FLICKS Book & Movie Club (AKA Rogue).  I finished the book up sadly the day after book club, but knew enough of the story to have a good discussion.  What I enjoyed most about the book was all of the references to favorite old classic movies and books of mine.  The Philadelphia Story plays a large part in this book as does the Anne of Green Gables books and the book The Secret Garden.  I loved all of these little snippets and it made me want to check out movies it mentioned that I actually hadn’t watched yet.  I was a Turner Classic Movies addict until we cut the cable cord.  Anne of Green Gables and The Secret Garden were two of my favorite books growing up.

I also enjoyed that the story was different than most stories I’m used to – it ended up in a different place and moved along a different path to get there.  What is family and what is home were themes that were explored.  I really like a good character story and this was a great character story.  I loved the characters and wanted to continue with them on their journey.  Luckily, I found out at book club that this series continues on.

Favorite Quotes:

“Jimmy Stewart is always and indisputably the best man in the world, unless Cary Grant should happen to show up.”

“Especially since he was obsessed with her because he’d drilled holes in her sailboat and sent her dead body to the bottom of the sea.” – reference to Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier which is one of my all time favorite books and also one of my all-time favorite classic movies.

“I’m a fan of suggestion, obliquity, discretion, the cut to the morning after, the camera’s eye turning upward, outward – to the sky, to the cuckoo clock over the bed, to the rushing river, away.” – I feel the same way about movie love scenes!

“And then there are people whose deaths prevent the sun from rising, deaths that turn the walls black in every room you walk through, deaths that send storm clouds and a wail swirling through your head so that you can’t hear music and you can’t recognize your furniture or your own face in the mirror.”

“Like love was a habit you couldn’t break.”

Overall, if you are looking for a great story with unforgettable characters, Love Walked In is the book for you.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Movie Nights with the Reagans by Mark Weinberg

Title: Movie Nights with the Reagans
Author: Mark Weinberg
Read by:  George Newbern with an Introduction by the Author
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: Approximately 6 hours and 29 minutes
Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster.  Thank-you!

Author Mark Weinberg was the former Press Secretary and Special Advisor to President Ronald Reagan.  He was with him for all eight years of Reagan’s term and also worked for him in California after his Presidency had ended. Weinberg loved working for Reagan and especially loved their weekend trips to Camp David where they enjoyed movies nights together.

This book had a very interesting concept.  It discussed the Reagans and the presidency within the frame of different movies that the author watched with the Reagans on the weekend at Camp David.  It was unique and I felt a very enjoyable journey through the 1980’s in film and politics.  I also enjoyed when they would watch vintage Reagan films and discuss how they were made.

I loved hearing about how Reagan was so considerate and thoughtful of staff.  He would travel and celebrate Christmas the day after Christmas so the staff could all be with their family on the holiday.  He also would retire to the night with Nancy to allow staff to go home for the night.  He sadly also had to give up buying cards personally for Nancy and attending church weekly.  He didn’t want church goers to have to go through metal detectors and for the church to become a target.

Reading about Reagan’s common courtesy, thoughtfulness, and real love for the people made me very nostalgic for past times.  I know I probably think of the 1980’s with rose colored glasses as that was the time period of my childhood, but I wish that we could have such a president again.  I may not agree with all of his policy decisions, but Reagan was a great leader and a great man.

It’s been awhile since I had read anything about the Reagans and I had forgotten that the assassination attempt was so early in the Presidency.  It was a very scary experience and it was interesting to learn more about it.  I especially loved the author’s disregard for Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Reagan book which this author stated was full of inaccuracies.

I liked how the book talked about the love between the Reagans and the life that they had after the presidency.  The author had a very unique experience.

Narrator George Newborn was an excellent narrator and I really enjoyed the introduction by the author himself.  This was a great audiobook to listen to on my commute!

Overall, this was a truly enjoyable audiobook with a unique premise.  It ended too soon for me – I wanted to listen to more!

The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau Illustrated by Matt Meyers

The Infamous Ratsos is Penelope’s April book club pick for the Bookworms Book Club at the Kewaunee Public Library for children from 1st grade through 3rd grade.  Penelope loves going to book club and also loves selecting new books to read afterwards.  My mother-in-law Gert takes Penelope to book club at 3:30 PM after school since I’m still working.  Penelope loves to come home with a pile of books afterwards.  We read her official book right away this time as last month we waited until the last minute!

The Infamous Ratsos is about two brothers, Ralphie and Louie Ratso, who want to be tough just like their Dad.  They go through a series of escapades where they try to do naughty things that they think will make them look tough, to only end up accidentally doing good deeds instead.   The book was pretty funny and had great pictures.

The part Penelope and I liked the best was at the end of the book when their father, Big Lou, learns about all of their good deeds and they talk about how they want to be “tough” like their Dad.  He talks about how they should not be like him, but that he should be trying to be more like them, able to take care of themselves and find the time for good deeds.  He says it’s been tough trying to make it after their Mom has been gone.  “Being tough all of the time is so. . . so. . . tough, “says their father.  
This book made me laugh and I’ll admit slightly emotional at the end.  It was a fun read for Penelope, but I loved that it had a message.

Overall, The Infamous Ratsos is a fun book with a big heart.

Book Source:  The Kewaunee Public Library