Monday, November 30, 2015

Instant Mom - Nia Vardalos

Nia Vardalos is the clever actress who turned her one woman play about her wedding into the movie of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, after it was seen by Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks.  While doing jobs and filming she spent several years having IVF treatments to try and get pregnant.  With no success, her husband Ian and her decide to look into adoption.  This book feels like you are chatting with a girlfriend, and I like that she is trying to write the book that she would have wanted to read while she waited to be a parent. 4/5

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Home is Burning - Dan Marshall

Dan is a bit of a self centered chappie.  Living in LA, at 25 he finds himself being called back to the family home in Utah to look after his parents.  His mother has been living with cancer, when his fit marathon running father is diagnosed with ALS.  With his siblings, Dan returns to help in the care giving of his parents and to help with his two younger sisters.

Part of me wanted to applaud Dan - he does a great job of helping his father out, stepping up when needed to help with basic cares and then more complicated chores as his father becomes progressively worse.  The other part of me wanted to give him a kick up the backside for being a spoiled, foul mouthed rich kid who needed to grow up.  There is a lot of swearing and jokes about sex, and I guess as a middle aged lady I am not the target audience for the manboy humor.  Still underneath that, this is a story about family, and what you do for love. 3/5

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Quality of Silence - Rosamund Lupton

Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrive in Alaska to meet up with her husband Matt a wildlife photographer/film maker.  He is missing after a fire at his local village.  Within hours, the two are travelling across the snow to look for him, however they are not alone.

An atmospheric story, I could picture the Alaskan roads, maybe I have seen too many wild road trucker shows on the television, but by the middle of the book I wasn't convinced by the story, it seemed a bit unbelievable to me. 3/5

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Message to My Girl - Dr Jared Noel

I first heard of Jared Noel as he was being interviewed on NZ tv, on his experience of being in his twenties and diagnosed with bowel cancer.  We got to see further updates,and read his blog as his journey continued with 40+ rounds of chemo and more operations.  Working as a junior doctor in Auckland, we got to meet his young wife and lots of kiwis who he hadn't met, donated thousands of dollars to help him have an expensive chemo that would hopefully allow him some time to meet his unborn daughter.

In this book, he is interviewed by the author for 12 sessions in the final weeks of his life, where he talks about all the things that are important in his life, his faith,friends, his career - but most importantly his family and his young daughter that he has got to spend precious time with.  4/5

Saturday, November 21, 2015


Oh Mr Bond, we do so love you, Daniel Craig wears you well in his tight little suits, although in the chair the pants were a bit too tight, it might have given him a bit of a camel look, not the look Saville Row was going for.

Us middle aged ladies did wonder if the producers/writers just set about making five action scenes, then joined it together with some random story line, as we found there wasn't much of a story.  We do get that there isn't meant to be much but it came across as too much style and not much substance.

We do wonder about what 20 year old writer got to write the love scenes?  How you made marvelous Monica come across as corny and cheesy with lots of huffing and puffing but somehow not sexy.  Just panting up against a mirror after a funeral is not the stuff of middle aged ladies dreams anyway.

We didn't get your new girlfriend choice either?  She seems like a bit of a wimpy choice. There seemed like zilch chemistry, you looked old enough to be her father and there was no witty banter.  Basically we decided she wasn't slutty enough, and we are old and grey haired, but gosh she was boring.

Anyway we hope you get to have a nice holiday and rest up, eat some carbs and  party with your closest friends.  You must be pretty tired after all that running about.  Put on your track pants, grab and beer and watch some Game of Thrones.  You'll like it - everybody dies.  3/5

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Age of Adaline

After a few weeks of shift Middle Aged Lady Movie  Night is back on track.  Instead of surcoming to the horrid shows broadcast on free people tv here in NZ or the usual rerecorded shows, I decided to make Friday night at home at least a little special.  Apple tv makes it easy to download recent movies for a semi reasonable price and with the washing done, the candles lit it is time to sit back on the couch and relax.

The Age of Adaline is the story of Adaline, born in 1908 who after an accident, never ages beyond her twenty nine years.  Looking fabulous of course, it becomes hard for her as every few decades she needs to reinvent herself and find a new identity and life.  Every time she falls in love she finds herself having to walk away, rather than having to be involved and share her secret.

Blake Lively is a beautiful creature and does a stellar job in this movie, I loved the styling of her outfits, how they continued with the vintage vibe and that she could be intelligent, witty and smart as well as gorgeous.

A great idea, I like a little time shifting/romance sort of story - I just wasn't wowed by this one.  There was a bit of a disconnect for me, maybe not enough emotional moments to make me love it.  I wanted more glimpses of a life lost, as the decades slipped away from her, and maybe moments of joy that she must have felt.  Maybe a cliche, but the things one would have seen being 107 years old and being that beautiful.  3/5

Monday, November 16, 2015

Without a Trace - Lesley Pearse

Lesley Pearse is one of those consistent authors who is able to capture womens stories so well.  She takes us back to the 1953 coronation of the Queen, where we meet young Molly.  Concerned about the absence of her friend and friends daughter at the village hall, she heads to their cottage to find out what has happened to them.  This leads her onto a new job, new home and new community as she seeks where young Petal has gone to.

A nice comfortable read with plenty of gritty challenges that must have been quite confronting in that time period. 4/5

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Belle is a movie about a real woman, Dido Elizabeth Belle who was painted next to her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray in 1799.  An illegitimate daughter  of a naval officer, she was bought from the West Indies to England to be brought up by her great uncle William Murray, the 1st Earl of Mansfield and his wife.  Life is not easy for her, as she is the topic of much gossip due to being illegitimate and her race.  When her father dies, she is left an income, while her cousin is left penniless after her fathers money is left to her brother.

Central to the story is Lord Mansfields work as the chief Justice who is involved in the case of the Zong Massacre, where the captain of a slave ship through slaves overboard, and then tried to claim insurance for lost cargo.

Anyways, it was ok.  I always have a soft spot for a period drama and I thought all the actors were lovely doing a fabulous job, it just felt like somehow they were a bit too modern, and I wonder if life was quite so easy for Belle.  3/5

Friday, November 13, 2015

Early One Morning - Virginia Baily

Chiara Ravello has had a rough time, with her mother killed by a bomb, her partner taken away and her adult sister suffering fits.  She is intending to leave occupied Rome, when she  takes a walk early one morning  in 1943.  She comes across a group of Jews being rounded up into trucks by German soldiers and a quick glance changes her life, as she is passed a young seven year old boy.

So she then has to escape the city with her sister and this wee boy, to head to their grandmothers farm to seek refuge.  We also encounter Chiara as an elderly woman, when she is contacted by a young woman from Cardiff, seeking information about a young man who she thinks may be her father.  This allows us to fill in the gaps about what happened in the previous years.

I loved the premise of this book, but I found myself wanting to love it more.  Somehow I didn't quite click with the characters, I felt it lacked a little bit of emotion as somehow I expected to be moved to tears, but wasn't.  3/5

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Cloudy spring days have allowed me the opportunity to curl up on the couch and watch a movie.  When you do a lot of on call  you can't travel too far from home, and I have a lot of DVR to catch up on, so this was the chance to watch movies that have sat around for a while.

Flight is a vehicle for Denzel Washington and he does a fine job of being a troubled pilot, that saves most of his passengers after a big old crash.  The problem is that he is a drug taking alcoholic with a long history of impaired flying.  Just who you want flying your plane.

I just didn't enjoy this movie. The flying special effects were impressive, but that was only the beginning of the story.  I guess in the end you don't feel too sorry for Denzels character - he isn't a particularly nice or endearing character, and he is horrible to the people around him.  2/5