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


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


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


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.