Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna - Juliet Grames

This books takes off with a bit of a bang.  It is the story of the long live of Stella Fortuna - born in a small rural village in Italy.  I could picture the small village home where she was raised by her mother and grandmother after her father goes to America and is rarely at home.  It is here that Stella has a few misfortunes and is lucky to survive. 

When finally the family are reunited in the US, the streets are not paved with gold and the family work hard to provide a life and future for them and their new families and children.  A different pace to the first half of the book, I did enjoy the story of the sisters and what eventually drove them apart.   A wonderful debut novel from a great storyteller.   4/5

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Once More We Saw Stars - Jayson Greene

What an amazing, tragic,  scary but beautiful book.   Greta is only two, and has gone to stay with her grandmother.  While sitting on the street she is tragically killed, and her death changes her grandmother and parents.  Written by her father, this book is a loving tribute to the love that they all have shared with Greta and how her loss impacts them. 

It is amazing that her parents didn't just collapse and disappear into their grief and you have to admire her father for being able to sit down and write such a wonderful book.  I don't know though if I were a parent if I would be able to read it.  I was left though with an overwhelming feeling of even though I am sad that I have lost family members, that my life was made better by having time together with them.  From the first to the last chapter this will be one of my favorites of the year. 5/5

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Camino Skies

Camino Skies is a New Zealand made film about a small group of mainly New Zealanders walking the Camino de Santiago across France and Spain.  Walking for a variety of reasons, this documentary shows the hardships of walking the 800kms  pilgrims path, and the beauty of the scenery surrounding it.  The main part of the movie though is about the relationships of the people walking and their reasons for being there.

I have seen a few movies and tv series about this walk, so there were no great surprises for me in this movie.  I think that I feel I don't need to walk to so far to find myself, that I am there for figuring out wherever I am and I don't need a passport to do that.  4/5

Thursday, July 04, 2019

I Will Keep You Alive - Bob & Adele Levin

I picked this one of the shelves at our local library and consumed it in one day.  It is the true story of Lawyer Bob Levin, and his journey as a cardiovascular patient.   Suffering two cardiac arrests, 7 cardiac  stents inserted and valve replacement surgery we join him and his wife on his journey and recovery.  All I could think of as I read this was how lucky he was to have survived as we was close to dying on several occasions. 

It is also an interesting look at the inside of the American health system, and it seems that Bob got great care and attention - one wonders at the cost of that.  Luckily here that sort of acute care would be all free on the public system.  4/5

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers - Kerri Turner

Set in the last years of the Romanov dynasty in Russia, this is a love story set around two dancers at the Imperial Ballet. Set at a dangerous period in time, I was expecting great things with this novel, but for me it all felt a little flat and I didn't real believe in the great love story it was trying to portray. Still I am thinking of buying tickets to see Swan Lake with the touring Russian Ballet after reading this book. 3/5

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Coming Soon

Be still my  middle aged lady movie lovers heart.  It is nice to see some more senior viewing coming out.  They make me far more excited than any superhero show.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Music Monday - Romeo and Juliet - Dire Straits

I walked into a small  shop on Saturday and this song was playing loud.  I had looked at everything I wanted to look at, but stayed  and pretended to still be browsing while the song played, singing along quietly.  The past couple of days I have found myself singing it  over and over. 

I looked it up on youtube tonight and found it had this horrendous video from 1980.  It is such a shame, as it is truly a beautiful song that still sounds ok almost forty years later.  I was never a fan of Dire Straits, and have never owned CDs from this band,  but have a soft spot for a couple of their songs.

Sunday, June 30, 2019


I had seen the clips for this one being advertised months ago, so was quite excited to see it, enough so to buy a ticket at the cinema on the opening weekend.  Jack is a singer songwriter without much success, with the only fans being his friends.  Then one night, a blackout causes an accident and Jack finds himself in a world where he has enormous success.

I won't give too much away, you can watch the trailer and guess it all anyway.  This is from the Richard Curtis camp, and has the right amount of British humor and charm that I hope it finds a good audience.  Certainly at the movie theater I was at there was a mix of ages and most people laughed throughout.  I think there seems to have been a spate of serious heavy drama round lately, that is nice to be amused and entertained.  I have to give it a 4.5/5 as I know I will end up watching this one again.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night - The Wife

It was meant to be fireworks here in the city, but due to a windy afternoon they have been put off, and of course as the intended time came the evening was lovely and still.  So instead of greasy noodles from a food truck for dinner, it was soup and toast for dinner  on the couch.

 This weeks 99c special was The Wife - a movie that earned Glenn Close an Academy Award Nomination.  I had heard of it, but didn't have time to see it when it was at the cinema, and sometimes  I am not in the mood for a serious drama, and don't mind watching this sort of movie at home,  when other types of movies are best enjoyed on a big screen with a large audience.  The Wife is the story of an author and his wife as they go to Stockholm where he is to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.  The movie also shifts back in time to tell their story and it is often a tense watch as the characters interact and fight.

A serious 4/5.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Hard Pushed - Leah Hazard

There are plenty of medical memoirs popping up and I have to rate this one as one of my favorites.  Leah Hazard tells stories of women, the women giving birth and the midwives who assist them.  You can't help but admire the women in both roles and I loved each and every story, even though some of them are heartbreaking.  5/5.