Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Fever at Dawn - Peter Gardos

A day off after Easter and in an effort to avoid the endless banging of builders at the house, I had to escape and  after a walk in the fresh air, it was a chance to sit and read, something I wish I could do more.  This one didn't take too long, a few hours of non stop reading and time to head out into the fresh air again.

At the end of the war, frail and sick Miklos is sent as a refugee to Sweden to recuperate after being in  Belsen.  He decides that he wants to find a wife, so finds a list of other Hungarian women who have been sent to Sweden and writes them all a letter, with only the names changed.  He hears back from a young girl Lily, who he then corresponds with, and it is their letters that form the central theme of this  book.

Based on the true story of how his parents met, it is at times sweet and gentle and I could see how someone will snap the story up and make a moving movie of it with a couple of young pale actors. I did feel sad though reading it, as most Holocaust stories do, the sheer horror of what those poor people must have endured almost overwhelms you.  Still this is the story of what happens next, how you go on, when most of your friends and family have gone and how you survive. 4/5

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Woman in Blue - Elly Griffiths

I love Elly Griffiths and the character that she has created Ruth Galloway, an everywoman single mother who is helping solve crime.  I do find that the will they/won't they relationship with Harry (the father of their daughter) is getting a bit tired, it seems to drag on and I wish she would be able to move on.

Somehow I felt a bit 'meh' about this story, maybe it was its religious overtones that bored me a bit, but I wanted more buried bodies and less chasing about after priests. 3/5

Monday, March 28, 2016

Music Monday - Kansas City - New Basement Tapes

I have so much love for this song at the moment.  The whole idea of New Basement Tapes is magical.  After an accident in 1967, Bob Dylan retreated and wrote songs for the Basement Tapes.  These songs are from lyrics not made into songs, fronted by a band with Marcus Mumford singing most of them.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

A bestie and I were in the need of a mid weekend movie and chose this one as we wanted a bit of a laugh.  I did read something on the Telegraph this week, about My Big Fat Greek Wedding being the number one earner out of any rom com movie ever made -and wikipedia says it only cost $5 million to make, and took in $368 million.

This second movie comes 14 years after the first one, and Toula and her hubby are now proud parents,who with the help of their family have to help sort  their daughter Paris out, and help with a family wedding.

Look it was all quite sweet, but felt a bit like an 1980s tele movie for me.  We did laugh a bit, and lots of ladies in the audience we were in enjoyed it very much.  2/5

Friday, March 25, 2016

Talk to Me - Allison DuBois

I have a thing about enjoying books about mediums and what they believe, although they are all strikingly similar I find their stories soothing. Allison is the true inspiration for the main character on the show Medium so she has some interesting tales about celebrity and show business as well, but the ones I loved the most was when she spoke about her family, especially about her three young daughters who all share some of her ability. 4/5

Thursday, March 24, 2016

10 Cloverfield Lane

With the builders pounding their hammers at home and the skies threatening rain, it was a good opportunity on a day off to head to the movies.  10 Cloverfield lane had got a good review from a few people online, and I like a bit of a scary story where I don't know everything about the plot.  So I won't give it away here.  Look - it was okish .  I just about nodded off in the first half as it was a bit slow.  John Goodman was excellent, you couldn't quite figure him out, and the main actress also did a great job in the lead.

Not sure it is worth the investment of a ticket price - maybe could have waited til it was online, but still with a bit of window shopping it was a nice afternoon out.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Music Monday - The 1975 - The Sound

This one is stuck in my head at the moment.  I was all about the music when I was 15 - going to as many concerts as I could, watching every music show, listening to late night radio shows.  I love that you can search and listen to any music you fancy now, for little cost and have access any time of day and night.  Not like waiting for LPs to be sent out from the US/UK weeks after being released there.

Anyway another great tune to pop on doing the housework or listen to on the way to work (how old am I?).

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Japanese Lover - Isabel Allende

I really enjoyed this read and found myself lost in this lovely story of both Alma and Irina.  Alma who is sent from Poland at the end of the second world war to live with her uncle and aunty and cousins in San Francisco.  There she Ichimei the son of the gardener, whose own life changes as he and his family are interned for much of the war.

We also meet Irina, who after her own troubled past takes on a new job as a caregiver at Lark house,  home for the elderly.  She gets to meet Alma and her grandson Seth, and they wonder at the mysterious parcels and letters that arrive for Alma.

Isabel Allende is such a skilled storyteller, that the changing narratives and time periods flowed smoothly and I was sad when the story ended. 5/5

Monday, March 14, 2016

Music Monday - Blue Monday

From the BBC (of course) - Orkestra Obsolete recreate New Orders Blue Monday using only instruments available in the 1930s, which makes it strangely hypnotic.  I loved this song as a teenager, huddling over my radio I used to listen to UK radio shows late at night as the NZ music scene at the time seemed dominated by American easy listening music.  How old does that make me feel?  It must seem like the dark ages to teenagers of today.  How I would have loved having all this music/movies/books at my fingertips.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Taking the Journey - Kelvin Cruickshank

I am a bit of a fan of psychic Kelvin Cruickhank - I have read and enjoyed his other books, and was lucky enough to attend one of his shows and he comes across as an interesting and compassionate person.  In this latest book, he expands on his others discussing what happens when we die, and that we hold the ability to communicate with our loved ones that have passed.

For me - it did bring tears, after losing my lovely dad only 3 weeks earlier, but I love the idea that my parents are still listening and looking after us, and can sense our love.  I liked the interviews of people that Kelvin has read for and their descriptions of how it helped them.  Kelvin also gives a personal perspective to his books, talking about the ups and downs in his own life.

Their were also a few chapters about near death experiences, as I have had two men tell me that they experienced similar things during surgery/health dramas where they left their bodies and were able to witness what staff were saying and doing to their bodies.

So even though I am not sure what I believe, I certainly found it an interesting and entertaining read. 4/5

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The Things We Keep - Sally Hepworth

Anna is only thirty eight, and is now living at Rosalind house due to her early onset Alzheimers, a small home for mostly elderly patients.  She meets Luke - who at 41 and with memory issues of his own also lives there.  It is quiet confronting to realize what the future will hold, and Anna wonders if she is entitled to love?

We also meet  Eve who was unaware of her husbands misuse of investors funds, and finds herself having to make a fresh start with her young daughter Clem.  So after training for fancy cooking, she takes a job at the rest home, as this provides child friendly hours and is close to her daughters school.

This book flicks between the two main characters, who I enjoyed reading about as both were likable and had good stories to tell.  I did find it a bit hard to follow the timelines as it flicked between current  and earlier times, and I found myself a bit muddled at times. 4/5.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Catify to Satisfy - Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin

Jackson Galaxy is the man when it comes to cats.  In this books he addresses some of the issues that mainly indoor cats have to deal with, indoor scratching posts, litter boxes, and other areas that would enrich a cats life.  Some of the people in the book have done amazing jobs modifying their homes to accommodate their furry friends, from miles of walkways and hidden tunnels to huge outdoor catios for the cats to enjoy.  Would make an ideal present for any keen cat owners you know - except for us, as my cat gets lots of indoors/outdoors action.  4/5

Friday, March 04, 2016

The Yorkshire Shepherdess - Amanda Owen

She is a bit of a tough girl this Amanda Owen.  This book talks about her life of growing up and deciding that she wanted to work on a farm.  After a series of jobs, she meets Clive, a farmer 20 years her senior and marries him and takes on a pretty big workload helping out on their sheep farm in Yorkshire.

As well as talking about farming she also tells us about raising her seven children and in most instances their pretty harrowing deliveries, many of them in laybys or in the ambulance.  Certainly it made me feel lazy reading about how busy her life is. 4/5

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling - Bill Bryson

20 years after touring the British Isles on Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson packs his bags and heads to some places he visited before and some new places.  I guess I haven't really paid attention in other books he has written, but I didn't realize that he married an English woman and lives in the UK on a full time basis.  Therefore many of his observations have been honed after decades of immersion in the ways of the English.

He is a witty and intelligent writer and gives a lot of often interesting background on the places he visits, it felt like going on day trips with your entertaining older uncle. 4/5

Tuesday, March 01, 2016


It felt like an autumnal day today with a mild 15 deg temperature and the first time in months the long jeans were pulled out and the uniform of a cardigan and scarf were donned.  Tuesday is $11 special at the cinema, which was the good excuse to catch a movie.  I had read this book this movie is based on a year or so ago, so was aware of the story.

Ma and her son Jack are confined to one small room with shabby furnishings as she was taken from the streets 7 years ago as a teenager.  Such awesome performances from both main actors, taking what could have been miserable and grim, but giving it some joy and hope.  I did enjoy it and thought that Brie was deserving of the oscar she won yesterday for best Actress. 4/5