Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In My Shoes - Tamara Mellon

In My Shoes is written by the co-founder of Jimmy Choo, Tamara Mellon.  It is an interesting read,  with a little bout of insomnia it kept me reading for a couple of hours.  Growing up with an entrepreneurial father, Tamara grows up in Los Angeles, with two younger brothers and an alcoholic mother.  As a teenager she is sent off to boarding school in the UK and finishing school in Switzerland.  Her parents move back to the UK and even though she has a job editing accessories at Vogue magazine, she lives in their Belgravia basement while out partying every night, with lots of drugs and alcohol.

 When that job ends and after a stint in rehab, she convinces her father to invest in a venture of producing shoes with a cobbler Jimmy Choo.  Setting up the business and the convoluted world of business deals takes up a lots of the story, there are lots of tales of  lawyers and meetings throughout her business dealings.  One can't help but feel that she expected a life of privilege and was slightly spoilt, and that had their been less exotic holidays, private jets and cocaine their might have been a bit more sensible decision making and money in the bank.  Once  her father dies, her mother goes a bit cra cra as she is already the major benefactor of the earlier deals, but still takes her daughter to court in a disagreement over some disputed shares.

Entertaining insight into what  you might  think is a glamorous  world.  4/5

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

So I am almost officially movied out.  The weather has been super poor here for mid summer time, with teaming pouring rain over lots of day, not Noah like floods but enough to put a damper on all the plans I had for my time off - no sitting in the garden, going to the beach, gardening, going to the zoo or the botanical gardens.  Instead besties have called with invites to go to the cinema, and so I have gone.

I'm not a huge fan of Ben Stiller as he seems to be one of those actors that doesn't disappear into a role for me, but always seems to be himself, just in a different setting, a bit like Adam Sandler and many others of the manboy genre.  I did enjoy his character here, the everyman invisible worker, going about his life in a beige world, never having any adventures.  Of course that is all about to change, in a novel and fun way.

Not a must rush to the movies to go and see it, but it was good enough to say it is worth a look if you are all rained out, or sick of wizards and car chases.  4/5

Morning Glory - Sarah Jio

You kind of know what you are getting with a Sarah Jio novel.  Like her earlier books there is a contemporary storyline about Ada and in this case, an earlier story of Penny told at the same time.   Ada moves to Seattle to live in a houseboat (like Sleepless in Seattle style) after a recent tragedy.  While there she begins to unravel the mystery about Penny, a newly married wife of a temperamental artist just after the second world war.

It was a good little romantic easy novel, and even though I had them figured out quite soon in the novel they were interesting characters to read about.  Perfect easy reading for wet Christmas weather when you are stuck inside (it's mid summer here - not the time for rain).  3/5

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finding Colin Firth - Mia March

I read The Meryl Streep Book Club by this author when it came out, you don't need to have read it to get this book, it just provides a bit of the location setting for most of the book and the characters who were central to its story are just bit players in this one.  We get to meet Bea who has arrived in Boothbay Harbour to search for her birth mother,  Gemma who has lost her job and is searching for what to do with her life and Veronica who has come to see if she can heal from her past.

Colin Firth is also meant to be in town filming his latest blockbuster, which did feel like a name dropping exercise as he didn't feature as prominently as a girl might like in the story.  I did end up feeling a bit meh about the story as you knew it would all work out for the ladies and somehow none of them seemed to have a real spark.  3/5

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug

Now  I did say I wouldn't go and see this one, but I amended my idea to only going if one of my friends wanted to go and see it.  I did enjoy the Lord of the Rings, but the first Hobbit movie didn't really move me.  The way it was filmed just reminded me of 1970's budget dramas on the television and it felt a bit over done.  I never got into reading The Hobbit either, I tried to read it about five times over the years and it was not for me.

This movie The Hobbit :  The Desolation of Smaug was a bit more of the same.  I bit overindulged CGI  action scenes that lasted for 20 minutes.   I was a bit over the Spider fights and Orc chasing and wish more attention had been paid to the characters and their story, the story just seemed to be their to hold fight scene after fight scene together.  Nothing seemed to have been done to make any of the characters likeable or vulnerable, they all seemed a bit wooden and all the CGI green screen action just seemed false to me.

I get that as a non lover of the stories I am not the target audience, but I did want to like it.  I'd give it a 2/5,  it was better than being bored at home on a rainy afternoon.  The noodles I had afterwards were tasty.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Source - unknown

Merry Christmas everybody.  It is cool and wet here, and the forecast does not look set to improve in the next ten days (it is mid summer here).  Luckily I have a pile of books to read and lots of movies to watch on the DVR.  Hope you all have a lovely break with friends and family.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Letters From Skye - Jessica Brockmole

It's always nice to get a good little surprise when you pick up a book and start reading. I was hooked from the beginning of this story.  We meet Elspeth Dunn, a young poet living in remote Skye in 1912.  She receives a letter from a young American student Davey, who has recently read a book of her poetry.  Their correspondence continues and a friendship develops.  Told in letter form, this story is not only about Elspeth and Davey, but also about Margaret and her mother, a mother who has never shared her past with her daughter.  Determined to find out about her father, we learn about her discoveries through her own letters written in the 1940s.

For me it was a 4/5 - as I like a little bit of wartime romance and I didn't really mind the letter format, as the story flowed.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Catching Fire

I felt good avoiding going into town the last Saturday before Christmas, as you can feel the desperation of the last minute shoppers far away in the suburbs.  Instead it was good to spend the day pottering round around at home and head out in the early evening for a movie and some Vietnamese for dinner.  I enjoyed the first Hunger Games movie, and book which I read just before heading to the cinema.  I never got round to reading the next two books though, so it was all a surprise to me seeing Catching Fire.

So it was really more of the same story, which should have made it boring, but actually I must say it was ok.  Jennifer Lawrence is pretty kickass, and  a great role model for girls, even if this girl is a middle aged.  I would have thought she was awesome when I was sixteen.  She has great skin too - so luminous through the movie.  Lovely Liam is quite the looker with his blue eyes, and I spent most of the time wondering if they made the other male lead stand in a ditch the whole movie?

The evening was almost spoiled as our favorite Thai restaurant has closed for a month of holidays.  We ventured over the road to the local Vietnamese restaurant and had super tasty noodles, made fresh with lots of meat and veg, and a great price.

So a 4/5 for the movie and a good night out.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Paris Architect - Charles Belfoure

Lucien Bernard is trying to survive during the war, in German occupied Paris.  Approached to by a wealthy industrialist to make a hiding room for a hidden Jew, he is asked to do this in order to get a commission to design a large factory.  Not sure if he should help at the beginning, we watch him change and enjoy the challenge of outwitting the Germans.

I did  enjoy this book, although I must say the torture scenes were a bit gruesome for my sensitive stomach, the story kept me going for some time..  I am sure that somebody will be picking this one up to make a movie.  4/5

Monday, December 09, 2013

Spelling It Like It Is - Tori Spelling

So I don't have any cable tv, and haven't seen any of Tori Spellings reality tv shows, but still managed to enjoy her book.  As well as behind the scenes info about how many of the reality  show they make it planned out, it is more the story about the past year of her life.  We join her pregnant with her third child Hattie, and her surprise at falling pregnant within a month of giving birth and having a difficult pregnancy.  With continued bleeding Tori had to go on bed rest for the last few months of her pregnancy, while still trying to keep her show, and  manage motherhood.

I do admire her honesty, and she seems to really love her husband and kids.  She doesn't seem to have a clue about money, but after her upbringing you can see why she is buying pricey clothes and shoes and struggling to pay rent or a mortgage.  A quick fun read 3/5.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

My Story - Elizabeth Smart

Wow - it is quite the story, and I bow down to the bravery of this remarkable young woman who has sat down and told us the whole story about what happened to her when she was fourteen.  How as a young, niave Mormon girl, she went off to bed with her sister.  Woken in the middle of the night by a strange man with a knife at her throat, she was forced out of her house and to climb hills behind her home.  There she found herself at a campsite where she found out that she was snatched to join him and his wife as the new younger wife.

Tied up, starved and raped, and threatened daily with being killed and the threat of her family being killed, you wonder how this poor wee girl got through.  But, survive she did, nine months of abduction before being recognised and returned to her family.  She writes well, and I did enjoyed hearing her voice, even though the subject matter is disturbing.  I hope she has a long and wonderful life.  4/5

Sane New World - Ruby Wax

I've always had a soft spot for Ruby Wax, she seems in her television career to have put herself right out there in the public eye playing herself, with her witty charm.  As her last show crumbled around her, she found herself with a mental breakdown, was diagnosed as bipolar  and  with a big old bout of depression.  Coming out of the other end of her down period, she decided that she would have to find a way to help herself, and went to Oxford to study neuroscience and counselling.

So this latest book is part memoir and part neuroscience reader, explaining what happens in the brain and how we can tame it with mindfulness, silencing the negative voices.  You have to admire her bravery at putting herself out there and sharing her story.  3/5

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

My Life - David Jason

I like a biography, I seem to read enough of them lately, so this one seemed like it would provide a little amusement.  I did enjoy reading about his normal growing up, and training as an electrician.  While at school him and a mate joined a dramatic club as a way to meet girls, and without any formal training he was able to start making his living as an actor in his twenties.

For me the middle part of the book was a bit dry and I guess not knowing all the old actors and actresses of the 60's and 70's it was not my favorite book.  All started to improve when he wrote more about Porridge, Open All Hours , Fools and Horses, The Darling Buds of May and all his other television roles.  Even though there were lots of amusing stories about what him and his fellow actors got up too, it is the stories about friends and family that touch you the most, and allow you to see the man.  He certainly would seem to be a good man to share a meal and a chat with.  3/5