Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Perfect - Rachel Joyce

In 1972, two seconds were added to keep the time correct.  We get to meet Byron Hemming, who is growing up with his sister and mother and mostly absent father, who thinks that these two seconds will change everything in his life.

We also meet Jim - living in a van and working at a cafe.  With a history of mental health problems most of his life he wonders if things will ever be normal, can he find love, will his obsessive compulsive disorders take over?

I really wanted to like this one, as I had liked her first novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, just I couldn't find myself gelling with the characters. A 3/5

Sunday, October 20, 2013


It had been a rubbish old week with the weather, windy and wet and cold, so of course the night I pick to go out to the movies early is sunny and warm.  Never mind, I still got to see a bit of it and got dinner out before the 6.15pm showing ( old lady I know eating at 5.15pm).  So we went to see Gravity.  What a movie!!!

For a movie with only two characters, set in space I didn't think it would be quite my thing.  However I did enjoy it, and at some point I wasn't sure if my little heart could take the tension, I just wanted to read out and old George Clooney and Sandra Bullock and pull them in.

So it is definitely worth the price of a 3D ticket and make sure you see it at the movies, as it is worth seeing it on the biggest screen you can.  A worthy 4.5/5.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Ocean at The End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman (2013)

We meet the middle aged narrator at the beginning of the story, who after a funeral, has returned to the site of his boyhood home.  Here her remembers what happened to him when he was seven, the summer he met Lettie, who lived down the lane, and her interesting mother and grandmother.  It was a time of monsters, and spooky nights when the new nanny isn't all she seems.

It might be just me, as I am not a big fan of the fantasy genre in general, but possibly the best thing I liked about the book was the cover, just awesome, I kept looking at it every time I read it, hypnotised by the blue.  I can see the magic in the story, but for me it just didn't resonate.  3/5

Friday, October 18, 2013

When It Rains - Maggie Mackellar

When it Rains - Maggie Mackellar (2010)

This little memoir didn't take me long to read, and once I started I wanted to carry on till it was finished, so I have dark circles this morning after sitting up in bed reading till almost 1 am.  Maggie tells us the story of  her life, how as a young mother of a five year old daughter and an unborn son, her husband spiralled out of control, with his mental health becoming more and more unstable.  Faced with bringing up her young children by herself, she is shocked with her mothers cancer diagnosis and death not long after.

Finding herself  grieving and trying to work and bring up her children by herself, Maggie packs the family up and heads out to the country to stay on the family farm.  It is here that you can feel a healing happening, a bit of normality even though her dreams are haunted by her husband.

I like a memoir, it reminds us of our own frailty and vulnerability, how precious our lives are and how much we touch others in our life.  It can help us also to remember that we are strong, that we can get through and that even though our stories and journeys are different we all just want love and happiness.  3/5

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Panther - Nelson DeMille

The Panther - Nelson DeMille  (2012)

I do have a tendency to try and keep away from brick books, as I find myself drifting off halfway through, and just urging the author to end the torture.  The saving grace of this 500+ page book is that the author has made the main character John Corey so good.  He is witty, engaging , super smart and I can only imagine ruggedly handsome - and also, in love with his wife which I adore.

So Anti Terrorist Task force agent John and  FBI agent Kate find themselves being posted to Yemen, where they are to search for one of the leaders of the 2000 USS Cole terrorist attack.  Al Queda are still causing trouble in the region, and you spend the whole novel wondering who our couple can trust.

I have to say that I enjoyed the first half, but found for me that the second half dragged.  I still walked away though feeling like I had just been on adventure with an older Jack Reacher, one who takes us on an adventure and even travels on an air plane!!  Awesome!  3/5

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home - Sue Halpern

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home - Sue Halpern (2013)

Sue  and her labrodoodle Pransky decide to take on a new role of therapy dog at a local nursing home, to ease the boredom and feel useful.  After a touch and go training schedule of trying to train Pransky to master walking on the lead, Pransky allows Sue to  meet a variety of patients and learn about their lives.  It is these stories about the people that  make this memoir so moving - the quiet moments when Pransky allows a gentle pat, or climbs on a bed of someone who is now to sick to make contact by themselves.  An honest look at the way people live the last years of the lives in a  nursing home, and how things can change so quickly.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Curiosity - Stephen P. Kiernan

The Curiosity - Stephen P. Kiernan (2013)

Dr Kate Philio and her team make a discovery buried deep in the Arctic Ice, a man dead and frozen who they attempt to reanimate and bring into the twenty first century.  We get to meet Judge Jeremiah Rice, swept overboard in a storm in 1906 and his introduction to the new world of computers and air travel.

I loved the premise of the story and the two main characters.  I was less impressed by the other narrators, the boss who is interested only in profits and the sleazy journalist, they just seemed unnecessary and  superfluous to the flow of the story, like they were only included to pad out the story.

I did wonder why as soon as they found out the chaps name, they weren't googling him and finding information out about his life, his family and any descendants.  It's what we would all do straight away.  Somehow I wasn't touched by the story, I didn't put the book down and think about Jeremiah and Kate, which is a bit disappointing.  3/5

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Burial Rites - Hannah Kent

Burial Rites - Hannah Kent (2013)

In a harsh isolated farm in Northern Iceland in 1830, we meet Agnes Magnusdottir, a poor farm worker.  After a life of poverty, she finds herself convicted of the murder of two farmers and now is sent to an isolated farm, to await her execution.  Talking with the family ,and the young priest sent to hear her confessions, we get to hear about her life, how abandoned as a child she was left to rely on the parish to support her until she can begin earning for herself.

I found the beginning of the book a bit hard to get into, but about half way through I began to feel for Agnes, for the type of life she was forced to live in a time when women relied on men to decide their lives for them. How that in our modern life we think we are poor, but cannot imagine a life where you could own nothing, have no resources, no family to help out or support us.  How it must be to be truly alone in our life. 4/5

I know it has been almost a year since I posted on this blog, but I thought it was time I continued to write here, as I do love my books and in the past year I have read so many good ones.  I did get sick of posting here and Goodreads, but lately have been so disappointed in the Goodreads website.  Now bought out by Amazon, the standards have dropped and most of their recommendations are crappy Amazon cheap reads that they seem to peddle by the dozen.  Does that make me a book snob?  Each to our own I guess, we all have our own tastes.  So back to writing about the books I enjoy.