Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr

This book had all the elements that I thought would work in this story.  A young Blind Parisian girl Marie-Laure is the daughter of a locksmith working at a museum.  When the Nazis occupy Paris, father and daughter escape to a small coastal town, to stay with a reclusive uncle and his housekeeper.

Told in tandem with the story of Werner, a German orphan who is trying to survive with his sister.  Discovering a love of fixing radios, this leads him to a life he never imagined in the dark evenings listening to distant voices.

For me, the story didn't quite gel, I just didn't feel the magic, and I kept waiting for it to happen, for it to show itself,  which was a shame as it was so close to being a magical story. I like a book that where I can't help picturing the characters and imagine their setting, yet with all the descriptions for me the visuals didn't come.  3/5

Monday, June 23, 2014

What We Do In the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows is a Kiwi made film, filmed here in Wellington about a group of four adult vampires, all flatting together.  Filmed as a mockumentry, the dynamic is about to change after a new vampire joins them and upsets the balance.  It's a little bit of the anti Twilight, no doe eyed high school boys here with semi goth girls swooning over them.  Instead, you get a bit of the Kiwi lad, scruffy, not very good at housekeeping and thinking they are all that.

It certainly made us smile, but we wonder what other people will think from outside our little city.  3/5

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Beauty - Louise Mensch

It felt like the late 80's reading this book, you know the era of the power bitch, sticking it to the men that have done her wrong, shoulder pads and high heels.  I guess the shoulder pads were lost in this story, and we meet Louise Mensch as she is being born to a mother, who resents her from birth, ignoring her demands and pandering to her older brother.  Abandoned and alone, Dina Kane has to make her own way in the world, which isn't easy when you are 18, broke and alone in New York City.

So we get to follow her on her journey as she tries to make it in the beauty business, where she meets a bunch of uptight men, determined to get in her way.  You can't help but feel empowered by her fast track up the career ladder and  success at flipping houses, I wish I had made that much cash in my twenties!!

So a 4/5 for this book, it would make a great holiday read!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Wish You Happy Forever - Jenny Bowen

This is the story of Jenny Bowen, who after a successful career making movies and with two adult children, goes with her husband to China to adopt a wee girl.  Seeing their new daughter Maya thrive after their love and affection, and time spent with other children, Jenny wonders about all the other children in orphanages, who are often neglected and largely ignored.  So with no credentials or childcare experience, she bravely goes to China and helps to set up Half the Sky Foundation, helping to improve the lives of  thousands of orphans.

It is amazing what she achieves, especially in a society that is wary of foreigners and interference, that she is able to set up playrooms, provide toys and set up training for caregivers.  We all have seen programmes on the way some orphans have been treated around the world especially in the 80s and 90s, strapped to chairs or cots, some not moving, and having little social interaction or any type of love or affection shown to them. What a difference some love and kindness make. You have to applaud the author for stepping up and being the change.  Bravo!!!

These are people we should be celebrating and talking about their stories, instead of newspapers and magazines filled with celebrities.  3/5

Monday, June 02, 2014

The Dead Wife's Handbook - Hannah Beckerman

A day off and a cloudy cool one at that was the perfect recipe for having a lie in bed in the morning and a nap in the afternoon, so a great chance to get my book finished.  One of my goals for the weekend!!

Rachel has a good life, wife and mother to young Ellie, everything changes when a fatal heart arrhythmia takes her away from her family in her thirties. Now only able to observe her loved ones from a distance, we watch as Max and Ellie first grieve for her and then begin to move on with their new lives. These changes also help Rachel to cope, knowing that they will be ok and that she doesn't need to keep watch over them.

An interesting concept, and because they were all very likeable characters and the grieving was handled well it made it very readable as opposed to being a bit too chick lit cheesy.  4/5