Monday, April 30, 2012

Winters Bone

Winters Bone - DVD (2010)

It was the perfect weekend to watch a couple of DVDs as the forecast was for wild and wet weather, and the autumn evenings are now getting quite chilly.  Still no matter how cold it is here, it is not as cold looking as the settting of this movie, nor as grim.

Ree is seventeen, and having to look after a depressed mother and two young siblings after the disppearance of her drug making father.  Living off the kindness of neigbours and the small squirrels they can cook and eat money is sparse.  When a bondsman arrives, he tells them that they can lose the house and land, if the father fails to attend a court date. 

Searching for her father puts her in the path of dangerous locals, and even with her own life at risk, she continues to search for answers.  A stunning performance from  Jennifer Lawerence as Ree.  3/5

The Suspect - Michael Robotham

The Suspect - Michael Robotham (2004)

It's always nice to find a new to me author, that always has a series of books all ready to read.  So instead of starting the latest book, I started back at the beginning with this, the first book about Joseph O'Loughlin a clinical psychologist, who is  married with a young daughter.  Dealing with a new health diagnosis, he is called in to provide information in a recent murder inquiry.

Realising that he knows the victim, the police become suspiscious that he may be involved in the case and of course things begin to unravel at a rapid rate. 
You could see where things were heading in this novel, but the author did a good job of keeping the pace up throughout, which made me enjoy it without becoming bored.


Saturday, April 28, 2012


Centurion - DVD (2010)

Back before men worried about skinny jeans, iphone apps, skincare or being able to bake - there were Romans.  They liked to drink, fight, run, fight, make weapons, fight, build straight roads and fight.
Yes you guessed it, there is a lot of fighting.

The ninth legion is sent off to fight some Picts, but finds itself ambushed in the forest.  The survivors then try to escape from some fur covered warriors sent to track them down.  The scenery was awesome, I loved the wintry big views, and even though lots of reviews mocked the storyline, I found it ok.  I didn't need a lot of character development, when they are going to die anyway.

So - there was a LOT of violence in this one it was an ok 3/5 for me on a rainy afternoon.  Michael Fassbender, Dominic West and David Morrissey are a bit of middle aged eye candy too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Woman Who Went to Bed For A Year - Sue Townsend (2012)

Eva says good bye to her seventeen year old twins, who are off to Leeds University.  So she climbs the stairs and decides that she will spend the next year in bed.

Her husband decides to introduce his secret girlfriend, who has been visiting him in his shed for years.  We also get to meet Evas mother and mother in-law who along with the local handyman, take care of her providing food and doing odd jobs for her.

I didn't know what to really think about this book.  I know that the author was trying to pepper the book with lots of interesting characters, but in the end I just felt annoyed with Eva and all the people who enabled her.    It didn't strike me in the funny bone, and nothing really interesting happened.  3/5

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Monday - Che Fu 'Fade Away'

Anzac day is coming up, and I saw this one again on the tele recently. Always makes me want to sing along.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Submarine - DVD (2010)

Ohhh Submarine, I was soo disapointed by you.  I had been annoyed with myself that I had not made the effort to see you at last years film festival.  You then played for weeks at the cinema, but it never seemed to work out me going to see you.  So once I found out you were on DVD I lined up to reserve it for my cinema night.

Movie night was after a lovely day of sunshine, and a cool evening, so it was nice to sit on the couch and put my feet up.  This little tale of a teenage boys 1980s angst was trying a bit too hard for me.  Oliver is infatuated with a girl in his class but has to deal with bullies and a pair of depressing parents, just like every other teenager.  I think for me, if it had had an eighties soundtrack I would have enjoyed it more.  In the end, I ended up only paying half attention.


Turn of Mind - Alice LaPlante

Turn of Mind - Alice LaPlante (2012)

We meet Jennifer Lake in the early stages of her dementia.  Forced to retire as an orthopedic surgeon, she is living in her home with a caregiver, with her two children visiting occasionally.  Her best friend has been found murdered, with several fingers surgically removed, and all signs pointing to Jennifer, however she has no memory of attacking her friend.

We get to learn about Jennifers shifting perceptions and I thought she did a good job of describing the experience of a dementia patient, and the changing reality that can occur from day to day and throughout the day itself.  Her relationship with her children is also troubled and brother and sister do not get along, and are mistrustful of each others motives.

A 4/5 - worth reading, especially as I get older this sort of story does scare me.  Who would care for me in similar circumstances?  How would I afford it?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bringing Adam Home = Les Standiford

Bringing Adam Home - Les Standiford (2011)

Wow this was one hard book to read through.  I truly wanted to stop several times, but I felt it is a story that needs to be held.  Adam Walsh was six years old, and with his mom in 2011 went to a local shopping centre.  Looking for a lamp, his mother left him to look at video games,  and when she returned her son was missing.

His torture and murder are horrid, and the investigation into his muder seems crazy, and a symptom of the pre computer times in 1981.  It is hard when we are brain washed by CSI, we think it is easier to find killers, and hard to remember a time when it was easier to find a car, than to find a missing child.

I think one of the shocking things was that even with a confession, the murderer was never charged with the murder of this child. The details of his abduction are graphic and stomach turning, and were hard things to read.  A horrid horrid man, who had no guilt about sexually abusing and murdering a child, and numerous other people.  He truly deserves to rot.

John Walsh, Adams father is the host of Americas most wanted, and has spent the past forty years in the pursuit of criminals and getting missing children returned to their homes.   With his wife, he was instrumental in getting law changes to share information about missing children.  A true hero.


Casper the Commuting Cat - Susan Finden

Casper the Commuting Cat - Susan Finden (2011)

Susan is a long term cat lover who lives with Casper who likes to wander.  At various homes they lived in, he used to take himself off during the day to sit in local pharmacies and GP surgeries, warming the chairs and getting petted by the locals.  When Susan and her husband move to Plymouth, she finds out the Casper is waiting at the local bustop and taking buses around the community.

Caspers videos appear on youtube and news programmes around the world, and his fame grows.  In the end, as with most cat/dog/pet books there are tears.

It was a sweet little story, that made me smile.  The tought of these outdoor cats that have their own little lives, making other people smile.  We have a little black cat that goes to the local bus stop, and curls her tail up and lets people pat her every day.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Shoe Sunday

I like the look of these shoes from Fly London - just the right amount of color for the summer.  The wedge is pretty high for me though, I'm sure I'd topple sideways and fall into a pool.  Stilll I can dream of wandering around a sunny holiday spot in these and a pretty summer dress and light cardi. 

Source Code

Source Code - DVD (2011)

Movie night was on Saturday night at my  house.  Alas no popcorn, but a few caramels helped my sweet tooth feel satisfied.  The librarian said that this was a good one, and I knew the premise as I had seen the ads on televison and some reviews.

Jake is a soldier who is sent back to relive the same eight minutes over and over, so that he can find out who has set a bomb on the train which if it goes off will call a few hundred people.  Each time he learns more and more about who the cuprit is, and how he has ended up being sent back to solve the crime about to happen.

I watched it, but was browsing the internets at the same time, so I was not sure if I got myself a little confused, so thank goodness for Wilipedia which can explain the plot.  Still not sure though, if I fully understand the premise, however it does make you think about going back and changing the future.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Violets of March - Sarah Jio

The Violets of March - Sarah Jio (2011)

Emily Wilsons life is in the middle of change. After a best selling novel in her twenties, her marriage falls apart, and she retreats to a small island where her elderly aunty lives. There she finds a diary, left behind that tells of lost love and lives ruined. Wondering who could have written the story leads Emily into learning about her aunty, and the friends still on the island.

Of course, our lonely Emily gets to meet handsome men who live alone ,and we all know who the romance will go. No surprises on that front, but it was a nice piece of escapism for me, in a busy week.


The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown (2009)

I got this book out with the intention of reading over Easter.  I almost got it finished then, but it was a bit of a monster so my plans didn't quite work out.  After Angels and Demons, I didn't really feel like any more Dan Brown, and I was weary of reading this one.

He is a clever man, knows a lot about symbols and Masons, and now Washington DC, all of which was quite interesting.  The tough bit, was trying to string a story imbetween all the interesting stuff.  At first I enjoyed it, but the second half for me dragged, and seemed to bumble together without a satisfying conclusion.  I am never a big fan of the running, explosion, torture, chasing novel.  Oh well.  3/5


I did see this one on blogland over the weekend, a little ad for a new show Girls.  I hope NZ tv buys it.  It looks like a more realistic view of living in New York.  Much as I loved me some Sex & the City, by the end I was bored by it, the horrible clothes and the boring boyfriends.  The movies were hideous - so unrealistic with none of the charm.  I like a little bit of recession type comedy.

Put a Bird On It

I was out shopping today with one of my besties.  She HATES birds on things, and they're everywhere.  I told her about this clip, sadly she doesn't have a computer so I'll have to show her next time she's over.  Put a Bird on It - from Portlandia.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Nocturne - Syrie James

Nocturne - Syrie James (2009)

This was one of the first books I picked up for my Kindle.  It was a short little read that didn't hold too many surprises.  Nicole is travelling across an isolated country road in heavy snow, when her car gets trapped in a snow drift.

Rescued by an intriguing handsome man, she has to spend a few days in his large home, waiting for the roads to be cleared.  Why does he live alone?  Why no food in his house?  What does he do for a living?  It was easy to guess early on, but I enjoyed this simple love story.


Monday, April 09, 2012

Music Monday - Birdy "Skinny Love"

I've been listening to this one on my ipod over the weekend.  I'd broken my headphones several weeks ago, and even though it was nice to give my ears a break, I have enjoyed having a soundtrack as I walk around.  I like to put my ipod on while I do the housework too, and blast it out while I clean the kitchen.

The Women on the 6th Floor

The Women on the 6th Floor (2010)

Boring businessman Mr Joubert, lives in a French apartment with his uptight wife, plodding along in his day to day chores.  When their maid decides to quit, after an argument with the wife, a new Spanish maid Maria is employed.

Maria and other Spanish maids all live in the servants quaters on the 6th floor of the building, and it is here that Mr Joubert finds music, food and friendship.  He begins to find joy in his life, and I found myself smiling throughout the movie, as he became more relaxed and fun.


Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James

Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James (2012)

This book is the continuation of the story of Pride and Prejudice.  Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy are happily married now, with two young sons at the Darcy estate Pemberley.  Preparations are underway for the annual ball, with servants busy polishing silver and cooking food, when a late night unexpected arrival causes chaos at the house.  Elizabeths sister Lydia, arrives in a carriage reporting that her husband, and his friend had had a fight in the forrest and shots have been heard.

I enjoyed the beginning of the story much better than the second half, but I have found as I grow older that I have little interest in any court room scenes.  The domestic doings of a large house, and the chatterings of the Bennetts was much more to my liking.  For that I give it a 3/5.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Vintage Affair - Isabel Wolff

A Vintage Affair - Isabel Wolff (2009)

Sometimes a girl needs a bit of a chick lit break.  A bit of mindless will they won't they romance, a  read to soothe the soul.   Also reading a real book at work, instead of the Kindle keeps the workmates on their toes. 

In this book we get to meet Phoebe Swift who seems to buy hugely expensive vintage clothes, and then sells them to spoilt London women for overinflated prices (well for poor me anyways).   When she opens her new shop she gets to meet new clients and learn of the stories that some of the clothes hold.  I rather enjoyed  the story of her friendship with the elderly Therese, and a blue coat that she had held onto since the war.

A perfect start to my Easter relaxing weekend.  Not having to use too many brain cells is my speed at the moment.  3/5

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (2012)

I finished the book at lunchtime today, and thought as it was my day off  that I would head out for a walk and then pop into see the movie.  I went to the new Embassy movie theatre in town - they've added two cinemas downstairs which are quite lovely.

I liked the book, enjoyed that it had a strong lead role in Katniss Everdeen and thought that her role was played so well in the movie.  I liked that the movie was able to trim a lot of the back story without losing the soul of the movie.  You could still tell that the father was gone, the mother had had a melt down, Prim was sensitive and that Katniss and Gale had a special relationship. 

I also thought that the movie did a good job of portraying a lot of Katniss's experience, her hallucinations, becoming deaf, the pain of the burns, being chased, being frightened - it was easy to tell that she was experiencing a range of feelings without having to use whiney indie girl singers. 

So a 4/5 for this movie that a million bijillion teenage girls, and a few middle aged women will go and see.

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (2008)

I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie, as this was the staple of lunchtime discussions amoungst the twenty year olds at work. So over the weekend, I enjoyed being able to ring my Kindle in the breaks and rushed to finish the book today at lunchtime.

You all know the tale:  two kids from each district are selected every year to compete in a televised contest til one is left alive and is the victor.  The whole story has echo of Roman Gladiators, reality tv and Survivor.  It was nice to have a kick ass female lead, who is strong, athletic, shy and smart -  a good role model for teenage girls.

Anyway,  this middle aged lady enjoyed this teen story and thought it worth of a 4/5.

Thunder Dog - Michael Hingson

Thunder Dog - Michael Hingson (2011)

There are two parts to this memoir.  The escape of Michael Hingson, with his guide dog Roselle from the 78th floor of the world trade centre on 9/11 and Michaels life story.  I found both interesting and learnt a lot about the blind experience.  I didn't really think about blind kids riding around on bikes, and learning to drive like Michael did, although I guess roads were a bit quieter in the years he grew up in, I'd imagine it wouldn't be safe in some neighbourhoods.

A lot of the book was about facing up and overcoming challenges that we all face.  The right to be educated and to be given fair treatment as an employee, most of which sighted people take for granted. 

It was nice that this book was written ten years after 9/11 as a witness to the event which changed the way we see the world.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Shoe Sunday

These are Flow Boots made by Kubo in a lovely Aubergine colour.  I already have some purple boots so I can't justify anymore.  I like that they have the tiniest heel, and would look cute with some nice grey tights.