Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Girl Before - Rena Olsen

Clara cannot understand how her and her loving husband have been taken from their home and what has happened to the girls in her care.  So as the story unfolds we find out the reason they have been taken.

I was intrigued by the story all the way through not sure in what direction it would go.  Parts of it left me unsettled, I don'the want to give the plot away there are plenty of reviews that will tell you more about the underlying story.  4/5

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Dying - Cory Taylor

I read a review of this books on goodreads where it was described as coming under q genre of books called illness narrative.  Cory Taylor is an Australian author who has stage four Metastatic Melanoma.   Facing her impending death she writes about her family, her experience with her own parents and winds it altogether in this small memoir.

I don'the know why I enjoy these books so much, there is seldom any big aha moments in the books.  I think though that I enjoy a good read about families and maybe there is a sense of clarity that comes from that moment when you know that death approaches, although in reality it is coming for us all.  4/5

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

A Life in Parts - Bryan Cranston

I must admit to be a Bryan Cranston fan.  I only watched the first season of Breaking Bad, but loved him as the lovable dad Hal in Malcolm in the Middle.   Lately I have seen him being interviewed on a myriad of chat shows as he promotes this new memoir.

Written in mostly chronological order it is a series of stories about his life.  With mainly dysfunctional parents I enjoyed his stories and he came across as an interesting likable guy who learned some pretty good life lessons from the people he met.  4/5

Monday, December 05, 2016

Holding - Graham Norton

Forgive me for not posting for a while.  Somehow my laptop has stopped working and I am left typing out posts on my phone like the middle aged lady that I am.

I had read Graham Norton autobiography and enjoyed his writing so took a chance on his novel.  Holding is a novel about a quiet Irish village, the local sole policeman who finally gets some excitement when bones are found at a local farm.  Two of the local women are considered suspects and as the investigation progresses we learn about their history.   I did enjoy the story, a slow and steady slice of rural life.  3/5

Monday, November 28, 2016

We're All Going to Die - Leah Kaminsky

I am a bit of a sucker for books about dying, they always offer a new voice about this topic, one that many of us are reluctant to talk about.  The author who is a family doctor in Australia is able to talk about her own families experiences and her own fear of death, as well as talking about the patients she encounters.  She   uses the book to explore how death was dealt with in the past when everybody encountered death usually in the family home, and what happens in the modern world when death has become more institutionalized with more of us dying in hospitals and nursing homes.  She talks to morticians and funeral directors and quotes from many authors who have written similar books.

Although I didn't come away learning anything too profound, I liked the tone of the book that made it like listening to a good friend talk and it didn't get too grim and uncomfortable.  Certainly it is a topic we should all be talking about with our families and friends. 4/5

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Allied

The weather was forecast to be gloomy today and the morning was windy with a bit of rain, but still warm.  So it makes it hard to decide whether to wear the spring sandals and light clothes or stick to the usual boots and jeans.  I went to the burbs to meet a friend for lunch and a movie.  A string of recent earthquakes have closed two of the towns multi-plex cinemas and over 3,000 parking spaces in the city are also closed so it is easier to go to the boutique cinemas to see a show.

I didn't know much about Allied other than it stared Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard.  I have tried to resist reading too many reviews about some movies.  It is a nice element of surprise to go in feel like the story is fresh, sometimes the previews give the whole plot away.  It is a romantic thriller set in the second world war, and my bestie and I quite enjoyed it. The story itself was quite simplistic and I liked that it just got into it straight away with minimal back story.  I felt there was something special in the way the story was directed, keeping the two main characters the focus, without the distraction of too many extra characters.

I am going to give it a 3.5/5.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Shallows

Blake Lively vs the Shark.  Supporting actor - Steven Seagull (did you get the pun?).  Anyway even though this was a simple premise, me and the 20 year olds actually enjoyed it.  We just won't be going surfing anytime soon.  4/5

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Velvet Hours - Alyson Richman

I got lost in this story set in Paris.  We meet Marthe De Florian, in 1888 Paris, a girl who grew up in poverty and re-invented herself, first working as seamstress, then as a dancer and finally as a beautiful courtesan to a wealthy man.  In her beautiful apartment she surrounds herself with pastel gowns, Ancient Japanese artifacts and an amazing painting done of her in her prime.

In 1940 Solonge is beginning to find out secrets about her family and everything is changing as she begins to feel the rustling of war approaching.  As the story swung between both characters I thought the author used this technique well, moving the story on.  It did feel a bit rushed at the end, with just a few chapters to move the story to the end. 4/5

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lights Out

So I let the 20 years old choose the movie when they visited.  I haven't watched a horror in ages, as being a middle aged lady living alone I don't really need any excuse to stay awake at night.  I used to remember loving horrors in my twenties, so I understand the attraction.

In this one Rebecca, and her boyfriend and young brother Martin are trying to deal with mother Sophies deteriorating mental health and are being tormented by an evil woman that only appears when the lights go out.  Chasing, screaming and blood ensues.

It was ok as far as that kind of thing goes, just not my kind of deal.  Now the things that keep me awake are the thought of having to stay in the same job another 20 years, worrying about the bills and the thought of affording retirement.

3/5

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Arrival

I had big plans to go and see this one at the beginning of the week, but after we had a big earthquake the city was closed for a couple of days and the shakes still continued.  So today I had things to do early on with family, but was free for the afternoon, so took myself off to the midday session - me and six others in the cinema on a sunny day.

I was thinking about alien movies from the 90s and 2000s, when a whole group of studly men or one kickass woman could save the world in the last 10 minutes after vaporizing the meteor/comet or alien with a big cannon/laser/gun while the world first chewed their fingernails then cheered.

In this movie the world sees the arrival of a group of UFOs.   Amy Adams plays Louise a linguist who is bought in to help interpret what the message is and how the world will react.  I feel like I can't really write any more without giving the story away and it is all on Wikipedia anyway if you feel the need.  For me, I am enjoying not reading too many reviews before I see a movie, and even some previews give it all away.

I did like this movie, it was quite cerebral in it's story without being boring and felt like an original story that felt fresh and avoided the usual cliches.  4/5