Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Between Two Worlds- Tyler Henry

If you are familiar with Tyler Henry's show, then you know what the majority of this book is about.  It is always a little strange to read a memoir written by a 20 year old, as they have only a limited life experience.   Tyler tells us about his early years and how he first discovered his psychic abilities.

This book reinforced for me what a nice sweet boy he is, and how he uses his skills to help people heal and grow.  He does spend a fair part of this small book explaining what he believes which is interesting, discussing what he thinks happens when we die and how our love continues, even when our loved ones have passed. 4/5

Monday, April 24, 2017

Music Monday - Fresh Eyes

I keep hearing this song everywhere at the moment.   I watched the video at the weekend, such a lovely message.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Working Class Boy - Jimmy Barnes

Jimmy Barnes is an 80s rocker from Australia, that I was lucky enough to see perform in his heyday as he opened for U2.

I didn't know anything about his early life except that he was born in Scotland, and when I was in a bookstore I thumbed through his autobiography and was instantly hooked.

In this book he writes about growing up poor in Glasgow with an alcoholic father.  Things didn't improve once the family moved to Adelaide Australia, it is real Angela's Ashes hunger, violence and poverty that surprised me.  Such a shock to think about how rough it was for him when he was younger and I felt for him as a young child.  I didn't like the teenage Jimmy much though, break ins , drugs, drinking and horrible amounts of violence. 4/5

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Middle Aged Lady Movie Night - Eight Days A Week

It is a while since I had a middle aged lady night.  It had been a busy day full of chores with washing out on in the autumn sunshine, the hoovering was done, bedding stripped and lawns mowed.  A trip to the post office, Library and supermarket all visited.  I then went off your meet a friend for dinner.  We tried a new restaurant Ombra which was tasty and worth the visit.

It was nice to get home in time to pull the curtains to keep the warmth in.  The movie I chose tonight was Ron Howard's Documentry Eight Days A Week.   Set around the touring years of the Beatles mainly from 1962-1965.  I have always loved the Beatles, but haven't listened to them in a while, but this wonderful movie makes me want to listen to them all over again.

Such a delight to see these four talented chaps as handsome and cheeky young men as the play in front of crowds of screaming teenagers.  Watching the movie it made me realize how short their time together was, maybe that is a reflection of my age, but when I was younger it felt like they had been round forever.  I wonder if teenagers today even know who they are?

Much as I love the pop songs if their youth, it is the songs like Blackbird, Norwegian Wood, Eleanor Rigby and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds that give me the most joy.

So I am going to load up all their tunes tonight so that I may listen to them tomorrow.   5/5

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Movies Film Festival

 Our weather was a bit cloudy and cool, so it was nice to catch up on the movies and shows crowding my DVR.  I quite enjoyed The Longest Ride, a romantic movie adapted from a Nicolas Sparks novel.  Scott Eastwood is nice to look at even if I am not a rodeo fan. 4/5
 American Sniper has been on my go to list to watch for some time so I was glad I got to sit down and watch it.  I did come away feeling a bit meh about it, a bit too much for me, too many guns and violence. 2/5
 Won't Back Down was one on the TV at 1am that I recorded and knew nothing about.  Maggie Gyllenhaal is a young single mother that is trying to get help for her young dyslexic daughter but keeps encountering obstacles at her local school.  She finds help from one of the teachers, played by Viola Davis and both woman try to motivate other teachers and make the school a positive learning environment to help all the kids.  4/5
I didn't know anything about this one either but once I saw Nicholas Cage and John Cusack I was interested.  Set in Anchorage Alaska, a young woman manages to escape from a man who has kidnapped and assaulted her.  As she helps police with the case it soon becomes clear that she was not the only victim. A bit gritty and grim it made me sad to think of all the young women killed by this serial killer, and how they must have suffered in their last days.  3/5

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Mother's Promise - Sally Hepworth

Alice is a single mother to Zoe, when she gets a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.   With Zoe suffering crippling social anxiety Alice initially tries to hide her condition, but as things progress she realizes that she must fill Zoe in and find some help. With no reliable friends or family available or Zoes father on the scene they have to accept help from Alices nurse and social worker.

I did enjoy the story although I could not help but feel a bit annoyed with Alice, as she seemed to have her own social issues.   It helped to read the authors explanation of why she wrote the story after thinking about what would happen to children in her own family if something happened to the parents.  She also wanted to explore what would happen to those people who are alone without any support. 4/5

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Extreme Measures - Jessica Zitter

Jessica Zitter is an Intensive Care Specialist Dr who also works as a Palliative Care Dr, and in this books she talks about her experiences working in the hospital and the lessons she has learned.

She is able to talk about some of the hard choices that people face when they become critically unwell.  Do we do everything we can at any cost?  What does that really mean and do patients and their families understand the consequences of that decision?  What would doctors choose to do when they attempt end of their lives?

Such an interesting book - one that I think everyone should read and talk about with their family and friends. 5/5

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Their Finest

Easter break is the perfect time for a movie, and as school holidays have begun this was one movie where there were no punters under 35.  Set in wartime London, a trio of scriptwriter are given the task of helping write a new stirring patriotic script, to be immortalized on the silver screen.

At it's heart though is the story of young Welsh woman Catharine who is finding it hard to survive and doesn't expect to find love.

At first I didn't think much of the story but was impressed by the lovely scenery and perfect rumpled costuming.   As the story developed it became more endearing and charming.  4/5

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Rolling With The Punchlines - Urzila Carlson

Urzila Carlson is a South African born New Zealand comedian who has been popping up on our screens the past couple of years in a variety of shows.  Although she writes a little bit about the comedy, this mainly a story about her difficult childhood growing up with abuse and poverty.

I really enjoyed this book, she's a good story teller and I felt like I was just listening to a good friend chatting.  She doesn't have to throw in lots of absurd cheesy jokes to enhance the humor, her telling of the stories us entertaining enough. 4/5

Friday, April 07, 2017

That Sugar Film

Maybe this one wasn't the ideal movie to watch before Easter weekend.   It certainly made me back away from the biscuits and have some fruit instead.

Basically this Aussie documentry maker Damon  Gameau , who lives the good life without a lot of sugar decides to take on the average persons diet of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day.  At first he thinks it will be hard to do, but as he discovers sugars are in 80% of products at the supermarket.

Without eating junk food, sodas or sweets he consumes sugar through juices, yogurt, cereals, bread and ready made meals.  The effects of weight gain, fatty liver and foggy brain happen rapidly but are also reversed once he returns to his normal eating.

A movie that we should all watch, not too long and presented in an easy way to consume the information.  4/5

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

It Ends With Us - Colleen Hoover

I know this seems a silly thing to say about a fiction book, but it just seemed all a bit too made up for me.  Lily Blossom Bloom is a girl who has grown up in a home where her father continually physically abused her mother.  After escaping she heads to Boston where she dreams if being a florist  (cue the cheesy name).

There she meets Ryle a handsome Neurosurgery registrar who falls in love with her.  Somehow it all felt a bit too TV movie for me.  I didn't feel like the characters were real. 3/5

Sunday, April 02, 2017

The Innocents

This was one I had ticked off to see at the 2016 film festival, but life intervened and I had to skip it.  Todays weather forecast was predicting rain, so a bestie and me met for some curly fries and a drink and a seat at the cinema.

This movie is based on a real story.  It tells of a young French red Cross worker who is asked to assist with a difficult labor of a young woman at a Polish Convent.  While there she uncovers a secret that the nuns have been trying to keep quiet from the locals.

I did enjoy most of the story, although we had been warned it was somewhat grim.  It was a bit bleak and I did nod off a bit half way through.   3/5 nods from me.


Never Put All Your Eggs In One Bastard - Peta Mathias

Peta is a TV host/chef/author from New Zealand who has written several books over the past 20 years and appeared on many shows showcasing her travels and the food and people she encounters.

In this her latest book she has made it a memoir telling us about her early life growing up in Auckland, and leading onto her latest venture of rebuilding a house in rural France.  It just all felt a little flat for me.  I think I needed more amusing stories, instead it was a little dry. 3/5

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Voyage of Their Life - Diane Armstrong

What an interesting compelling read this one is.  This book tells the journey if the over crowded and worn out boat, the Derna which travelled from France to Australia in 1948.  Aboard were 545 passengers, mostly survivors from the war seeking a new life in Australia or New Zealand.

The author was just a young girl who was with her family on board and she tells the amazing stories of many of the passengers.  It still shocks me to hear what these poor people endured in concentration camps, in gulags, hidden in convents, holes in the ground or hidden in attics.

Interesting  to hear too, about their lives in Australia and New Zealand and how hard they worked.  This us one of those books that I will think about for a long time. 5/5

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deepwater Horizon

So this was the last of the movies that I saw on my recent flight.  Deepwater Horizon is a biopic about a real life accident on the oil drilling right in 2010.  A series of events led to a huge explosion and fire that left 11 workers dead.  It is a bit of a grim watch, but it does a good job of honouring the teams aboard.  3/5

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Manchester By The Sea

I had wanted to see this one at the cinema but never got organized enough.  So it was the first choice on my recent flight.  However I wished I had watched something else, I was quite bored.  1/5

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Night School - Lee Child

We travel back in time with this one to meet Jack Reached in 1996.  I can't really explain much more about the plot because I couldn't really follow it myself.  It is a departure from his usual formula and for me, it seemed to be written as some sort of set up to follow into another story line. 3/5

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Liberation- Kate Furnivall

Caterina is trying to survive in Sorrento, Italy in 1945.  The war has ended and British and American troops are in Naples trying to restore peace to the war devastated city.  Caterina has taken over her dead father's business to try and support her young brother and grandfather who rely on her.

I enjoyed the first half of this story but it seemed to take me a long time to get through the last part. 3/5

Friday, March 17, 2017

So I got to see this one on a recent flight.  I had read the book when it came out several years ago, a bestseller for weeks.  It is the story of Lou Clark who in need of a job, applies to be a caregiver to Will Traynor, a young banker who had been paralyzed after an accident years earlier.  As a friendship develops, they become inseparable but Will has a plan of his own.

I found this one a nice piece of light watching.  Emilia Clark was a delight to watch and provided the perfect mix of airiness and drama that the character needed.  4/5

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Street Cat Named Bob

With a longish flight home last night there was time to watch a movie. I had read the book when it came out.  It tells the true life story of James Bowen whose life as a drug addiction changes when he gives up the drugs.  With the help of a kind social worker, he is able to get a council flat and he gets a visit from a ginger tomcat who makes himself at home.

Soon Bob and James are inseparable and become famous with clips of them together watched by millions on YouTube.

I really enjoyed this one, showing that love can come in many forms and from different creatures.   It was also awesome that the real Bob got to play himself in the movie as well as a cameo from the author.   5/5

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Darling, I'm Going To Charlie - Maryse Wolinski

This is a small but moving memoir about a wife of 47 years, missing her husband.  Georges Wolinski was a satirical journalist who was murdered with eleven others at the Charlie Hedbo Magazine offices in Paris in 2016.

At the core of this book is a love story, of the couple that spent all their time together, of love notes left any time they spent apart.  4/5

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Taken 3

A middle aged lady night in meant there was a load of washing already on the line, and a sink full if dishes soaking.  So with a bowl of ice cream and the candles lit, I sat down to tackle a movie from the DVR.   Taken 3 seemed a good choice  - who doesn't love a bit of Liam Neeson?

This one for me was a bit of a dud.  It seemed to be lacking in any cohesive story, just a series of car chases and shoot out scenes.  A bit of a worried looking daughter and two obviously bad guy cops.  All I could think throughout though, was that Liam looked bone tired like he just needed a good lie down on the couch and a good burger and fries.  Thank goodness it is the final of the three part franchise  - you have a rest now Liam.  2/5

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The Constant Queen- Joanna Courtney

I am enjoying this series from Joanna Courtney, about the three Queens who were involved in the fight for the English crown in 1066.  This story is about Princess Elizaveta, born in Kiev who falls in love with a Norwegian Viking.

However she is not the only one seeking handsome Haralds heart, will he marry the Nordic Tora or never return home, continuing to plunder riches from wealthy cities across Europe.

I felt sacked into this historical novel, althou5it did take me a long time to read it. 4/5

Monday, February 27, 2017

Music Monday- Castle on the Hill - Ed Sheeran

Oh I am loving this song so much this week.  No big fancy effects from Ed, just talent and a guitar wins every time.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

St Vincent

After weeks of packing and moving , and a day of chores I decided to sit down and watch a movie this afternoon.   St Vincent is one of those independent movies that tells a simple tale of how sometimes family is not only the people we are related to, but the people who come in on our lives.  Vincent us the cranky old neighbor who provides care for Oliver while his mum works.

An entertaining 4/5 watch for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Sleepwalker - Chris Bohjalian

The Sleepwalker didn'the keep me awake at night wanting to read it.  Mum Annalee goes missing overnight, which her family blame on her longstanding history of sleepwalking.  Her daughter Lianna seems to be the only one who really wants to know what has happened, as she saved her mother once before.   Maybe she could save her again? 3/5

Monday, February 20, 2017

My Story - Jo Malone

I have a couple of books to catch up on, it has been a hectic week or two moving house and trying to make the most of the nice evenings.  Being tired I only manage a page or two before sleep.

Jo Malone, the famous London Perfumer ticks all the boxes in her autobiography.   A simple childhood with money struggles, hard work, opportunities, health struggles etc.   I always like to hear about some one from humble beginnings becoming so successful, it gives all of us hope that we just need that one great idea and lots of hard work.  4/5

Monday, February 13, 2017

Kedi

I have been hearing good things about Kedi a documentary about the street cats in Istanbul.   I was lucky enough to visit this amazing city in 1994, so I really would love to see this one.

Is there anything you are looking forward to seeing?

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Our Souls at Night - Kent Haruf



Addies husband has been dead for a couple of years, when she approaches Louis with a proposal to come and keep her company at night.  As their friendship develops, neighbors and family begin to offer their opinions about the relationship.

A sweet little book about age and love that I devoured in one sitting.  4/5



Monday, January 30, 2017

Peggy & Me - Miranda Hart

Miranda hart is one of those actresses that at times seems hilarious, and in the next moment is annoying to watch.  I find her books a little that way too.  In this book we get to meet her best friend, wee Peggy a dog who helps to heal Miranda's broken heart. 3/5

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My (Part-Time) Paris Life - Lisa Anselmo

Lisa decides after her mother's death, to buy a small apartment in Paris and recounts her life in the famous city.  There were parts of the story I enjoyed like hearing about city, the food and the people that live there.  I wish I had a job that would let me travel there a couple of times a year. 3/5

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hidden Figures

I really liked watching Hidden Figures this afternoon, maybe I was in need of a distraction and although I had seen the previews before other shows, the movie itself had much more to offer.  As you might all know it tells the true story of three bright women, working at Nasa in the 60s.  As well as fighting racial prejudice and sexism, they had to prove how smart they were in a community of scientists and engineers.  

All three main characters were lovely to watch, with the right amount of humor and warmth depicted.  I did have to wipe back a tear or two and be sure to watch the credits.   5/5

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lion

Another rainy day in the city, and it was feeling like mid winter as I put on my boots and rain jacket.  Still it was nice to get out and meet a friend for some food and a movie.

I had seen the shorts for Lion a few times.   Sarno is a small 5 year old boy from a small Indian village, living with his mum, younger sister and big brother.   When they become separated how will he find his way back?

Dev Patel does a great job as the grown up Sarno, but it is the young Sunny Pawar who for me is amazing in this movie who steals the show.  I didn't need tissues but there were a couple of tears building up.  Be sure to stay till the end too, as the last few minutes are important.   5/5

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Emergency - Simon Judkins

These are true stories from a variety of Emergency Department doctors across Australia.   It is the stories about the patients saved and lost , and the ones you always remember.  It is also about the long hours, personal sacrifice and burn out that many doctors face.  A compelling read. 4/5

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You Will not Have My Hate - Antoine Leiris

This is a small book , a quick but powerful read that I have been thinking about since I read it.  The author is at home with his 17 month old son when he hears about the terror attacks at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, where his wife is attending a concert.

He initially posted a note to the terroristsupermarket, addressing the fact that although they killed his wife, they would not win.  They would not have his hate, and this then went viral and he sat down to write this book.  It is a love letter to his wife and their little boy and bought tears to my eyes.   I was especially touched when he was talking about blaming the men who killed his wife " Death awaited his mother that night; they were merely ambassadors ."

Such a sad story but told with such grace and restraint. 5/5

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Princess Diarist - Carrie Fisher

I feel a bit conflicted about this one.  Author  Carrie Fisher discovered some old diaries she kept during the filming of Stars Wars for 3 months in London, in 1976.  The book however is not really an insight into the movie, but more about how she felt and was affected by a relationship with co-star Harrison Ford.

She does however not give a lot away, still being a bit discreet. There are a lot of diary entries regarding her insecurities and a lot of poetry.  I did find parts of it a bit confusing as stories sometimes seemed a bit untold. 3/5

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter Journey- Diane Armstrong

 Alina is an Australian specialist who specializes in forensic dentistry and whose life is falling apart in Sydney.   She accepts a job to travel to her native Poland, where there is ano investigation underway.  In 1941 the Jewish members if a small town were herded into a local barn and burnt alive.  Locals say that it was the Germans, who did it, killing local communists.

Based on a true story the author spins a fictional start that puts a personal twist on what is truly an evil evil deed and it is pretty confronting thinking about what neighbors can do to each other.  I didn't  expect to hear about the continued prejudice and animosity that still occurred within the population, with many still blaming the Jews for what occurred to them. 4/5

Saturday, January 14, 2017

La La Land

I was a bit mortified today, after organising friends to meet at the cinema, to find it had made the booking wrong and the cinema was sold out.  One of the girls however found us seats at a later session in town.

I tried to avoid reading reviews about the movie, so it was nice to be surprised and enjoy the movie.  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone were awesome in the lead roles and although I am not a big fan of musicals I thought they did a great job of making the songs bearable.

I don't want to go over the plot here, you can find it all on Wikipedia.   A 4/5 from me.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Faithful- Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman is a great writer, she sure can spin a tale and is able to write about a character who that is easy to imagine.  In this book she writes about Shelby who we meet as a teenager whose life has been rocked.  After sliding on ice while driving, she changes the life of her and her best friend.

After going off the rails for a few years she escapes to New York City where she finds a new life for herself.  I did like the story and Shelby and her friends, and the dogs but it did seem a bit contrived.  Although it was a case of bad girl done good, and I was rooting for Shelby to find a good career and meet a nice man I could not help thinking I was reading the script of a Hallmark movie. 3/5

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Victoria

So over the staycation there was time to catch up and finish some shows stuck on the DVR.  I really enjoyed Victoria, a fictional drama of the early years of Queen Victoriasreign from when she was made Queen to the birth of her first child.

It is interesting to see how the people surrounding her tried to manipulate her to their own advantage, but how even at a young age she seemed to make good choices.  The show also focused on the romance between her and Prince Albert which I think I often forget about when you think of Queen Victoria.   It is hard to forget the image of an older large woman in her mourning outfits, and think of her as a young woman in love.

I think that they are making a second series which I look forward to.  4/5

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Lecretia's Choice - Matt Vickers

Lecretia Sales was a young New Zealand lawyer who met writer Matt Vickers in 2003, and at its heart this non fiction book is the story about their romance and love.

Lecretias story became known in NZ after she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor.  She entered our living rooms through some written articles and TV interviews snippets , as she advocated for physician assisted dying.  Sadly she died aged just 42, on the day that the high Court released their decision declining her case.

I devoured this book in a day and felt that I learned a lot more not only about the case and her cause, but about Lecretia herself.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The Vanishing Year - Kate Moretti

Oh what a hard start for the first book of the new year.   This one didn't settle with me, nothing and no one felt believable.  Zoe Whittaker seems to have it all, a new life with her rich handsome husband in their flash New York apartment.  But if course she has a past and it is going to catch up with her.

I think I didn't believe that this street wise girl with a past would then marry some rich guy without finding out about his past.  She seemed a bit prepared to roll over and do what he said without questioning anything.  For a thriller I Didn't really feel scared at all. 2/5

Monday, January 02, 2017

Unbroken

Yet another movie that I had missed at the cinema and was glad to be able to view on free television when it played last night.   The movies they have run over most of the holidays have been somewhat dismal.   I get that the Sound of Music, Love Actually are classics but having Sister Act, and every Adam Sandler/Jim Carrey December grade movies repeated at least 3 times a year gets a bit tiring.  So I am currently watching Victoria which is most entertaining.

So back to Unbroken, the story of Louis Zamperini an Olympic runner, who in the second world War crashes with his air crew into the ocean.  Surviving an amazing 47 days in a lift raft, he is rescued by the Japanese only to be tortured and forced into labor in a POW camp.

For me the most moving parts of the movie are in the final 5 minutes of the film, learning about what happened decades after the events depicted.  4/5

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year - Hello 2017

The New Year arrived here with a dreary rainy day with 120km winds, a perfect day to stay in and sit on the couch with a book and watch movies.

I had meant to see 45 Years at the cinema but managed to miss it, but the Apple store had it at 99 cents, much more affordable than the $19 ticket I would have to have paid.  I think this year I will save my pennies and only be going to the cinema for special movies with friends.

This tells a story of an older couple about to celebrate their wedding anniversary when a letter arrives for the husband, forcing them to discuss secrets long hidden.  Great performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtney.  4/5

Happy New Year  and heres to lots of good reads and entertaining movies.