Friday, December 26, 2014

{Movie} Review: Slumdog Millionnaire (2008)

 Starring:  Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Madhur Mittal (2008)

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

This was the movie that has been on my PVR the longest (2+ years) and this afternoon it was finally time to give it a shot.
It started off slow and I was beginning to doubt my choice but it turned into "feel-good" film as the tagline assured us it would be.Some of the earlier "abuse" scenes were a bit much for me but I understand how it is a necessary part of the story.   The further the story unfolded, the more you are drawn in and at the end, I was a bit divided . . . where would the story lead?  Would Jamal answer the last question correctly . . . I must admit that the story would have worked for me either way.

All in all it was a fun afternoon with the bad guy redeeming himself and the happy ending we were hoping for.  I love happy endings . . . 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Haul!

For the last few moths we have been going through a severe postal strike here in South Africa and it was impossible to get anything delivered.  So what a nice surprise when Book Depository and the Post Office came together and delivered me this beauty for Christmas!  Thank you guys!!

For the past year, I have listening to audiobooks books almost exclusively. In the whole year, I read maybe only one or two physical books.   It has just been so much easier to listen while sitting in the traffic to and from work.  Does wonders for the road rage!

But this book intrigued me, supposedly it is one of the new type of books which is interactive; showing photos, newspaper articles, websites, emails, etc. so I had to buy the physical book.   Which sparked a buying frenzy but more about that in coming posts.

I was planning to save it for after Christmas when I have a few days free from work but I just wanted a sample last night. Loved it! Even in the first few pages, I got a glimpse of the newspaper articles and blog posts and it story is creepy right from the get-go! 

But what is really surprising it that it took some time for me to get "reading" again. Even if I was not reading books, I have been reading or else how would I have been getting by? You cannot live life if you don't read.

But reading a book - it took some concentrating to focus on the sentences and READ. And now I can say that even if I did not notice it before, I missed real books . . . and am definitely looking forward to more.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

What I read in September 2014

September was a slow month but I did manage to listen to two books.  Two very different books but still both enjoyable.

The first book was . . .

The Good House by Ann Leary
Narrated by Mary Beth Hurt

Goodreads  How do you prove you're not an alcoholic?

Hildy Good has reached that dangerous time in a woman's life - middle-aged and divorced, she is an oddity in her small but privileged town. But Hildy isn't one for self-pity and instead meets the world with a wry smile, a dark wit and a glass or two of Pinot Noir. When her two earnest grown-up children stage 'an intervention' and pack Hildy off to an addiction centre, she thinks all this fuss is ridiculous. After all, why shouldn't Hildy enjoy a drink now and then?
But as the story progresses, we start to see another side to Hildy Good, and to her life's greatest passion - the lies and self deceptions needed to support her drinking, and the damage she causes to those she loves. When a cluster of secrets become dangerously entwined, the reckless behaviour of one threatens to expose the other, with devastating consequences.

My thoughts:  This audiobook was recommended to me by my bookclub quite some time ago but I just never got round to listening to it.
I am so glad I made time for it in September.  What a great book (and an awesome narrator!).

It is another thought provoking kind of book.  Not loads of action, although enough to keep the story moving forward.  It is more about the people.  Looking back, it is also a little sad.  Hildy just cannot admit to herself that she is an alcoholic even when she can see all the clues.  The intervention (everyone else is wrong), the blackouts, the times and actions she cannot explain . . .   She can still control her drinking or so she tries to convince herself.

Even though the subject matter is very serious, there are still some laugh out loud moments.  Hildy is an awesome person even if she does have her faults (and bitchy) moments.

I highly recommend this one.

The other book I listened to was .  .  .

Waiting to be heard by Amanda Knox
Narrated by herself

Goodreads: In the fall of 2007, twenty-year old college coed Amanda Knox left Seattle to study abroad in Perugia, Italy for one year. But that November 1, her life was shattered when her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, was murdered in their apartment. Five days later, Amanda was taken into custody and charged by the Italian police; her arrest and the subsequent investigation ignited an international media firestorm. Overnight, this ordinary young American student became the subject of intense scrutiny, forced to endure a barrage of innuendo and speculation. Two years later, after an extremely controversial trial, Amanda was convicted and imprisoned. But in 2011 an appeals court overturned her conviction and vacated the charges. Free at last, she immediately returned home to the U.S., where she has remained silent, until now.

My thoughts:  I love biographies and memoirs (I had to go and look up the difference - apparently a memoir is a just a piece of someone life . . . a little story from a life).

Anyway, I faintly remembered the name and face of Amanda Knox and that she was accused of killing her roommate while she was a student abroad.  I did not remember the details although I did assume she was found not guilty seeing as she had written a book.

But after listening to her book, I am not completely convinced that she is innocent.   I will even go as far as to say that the book did not even provoke any sympathy for her.  I will admit (if her point of view can be believed) that it is scary to think that the justice system could be so "twisted" (I might even suggest corrupt).   But then other countries and their justice systems are mostly mysteries to most people. 

This is definitely not an Orange is the new Black story.  Prison is supposed to be a scary place and this is what I found it to be in the pages of this book.  I felt some paragraphs was repeated way to much but overall it held my attention until the end.

And is all I read in September . . . 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What I read in August 2014

I decided that I need to get some reviews down but I am sooooooooooo behind that I thought I would start a monthly blog post until I am able to write reviews again.  So let's start with August.

In August I read (listened to) 3 books.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
Narrated by Caroline Lee

(Goodreads) At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read.

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died...

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

My thoughts:
I do not usually enjoy contemporary novels but this one was a good fit for me.  I have recently discovered that I enjoy these kinds of bookclub books on my daily commute to and from work.  It does take a while to listen to all 13 1/2 hours but the narrator really made the time fly (and no road rage!).

About halfway through the book, I was really struggling to accept the choices that Cecilia was making.  What would I do in a situation like this?  Would I decide to keep my husband's secret? Would I be able to stay living with him, loving him, even though I could see the suffering of those affected by the secret?

I can highly recommend this one and Liane Moriarty has a new fan.  I am currently listening to Big Little Lies . . . another good choice . . .

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North
Narrated by Peter Kenny

(Goodreads) The extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character - a story of friendship and betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable march of time. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says. 'I need to send a message.' This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

My thoughts:
  This was something totally different.  Science fiction with a twist.  People must have thought I was a little strange sitting in my car a little longer after I arrived at my destinations.

I am a little lost as to how to describe this story without giving too much away.  All I can say is that it is the biography of Harry -  of his lives and of his deaths.  Of his rebirths and of his efforts to change the past so that it may change the future.  Confused?  You won't be, the author (and narrator) leads you through it all and it all makes sense.  Very entertaining.  I recommend this one.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
Narrated by Becky Ann Baker

(Goodreads) Katie Wilkinson has finally found the perfect man - but one day he suddenly disappears, leaving behind only a diary written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby, Nicholas. In it she intimately reveals the romance between herself and the child's father, her hopes for their marriage, and her unparalleled joy in motherhood. As Katie reads on, she realizes that the man she loves is Suzanne's husband. Now, filled with terror and hope, Katie must struggle to understand what has happened - and find out if her new love has a prayer of surviving.

My thoughts:  I enjoyed the first half of this book very much.  Unfortunately after that it become all too soppy and lovey-dovey for me.  Don't take this wrong, if you love heavy romances, you will adore this!  It was just a little too much for me.  I enjoy happy romances up to a point but then it just leaves me cold.  I could not wait to get through it -  I was invested in the story, so I wanted to know how it would end, so I persevered.

That was my August reads.  A good month :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #12

Bookish and Not-so-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. Here we can talk about our week or anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Even rants are allowed (good or bad). You are welcome here. Come and share anything you want with us.

1.  I read a "Bookish and not-so-bookish" blog post recently where Lipsy was talking about bloggers that claim to read (and review) 25+ books a month.  I agree, I am not sure how you could keep the stories straight if you read almost a book a day . . . and where do you get the time to live life and also review the books.  How many books do you read in a month?  And if you do hit the 25+ mark, yay for you.  Please share your secret, how do you do it!

2.  Read THE GOOD HOUSE by Ann Leary.  Really enjoyed it and the narration was fabulous.  It is about the day-to-day life of an alcoholic that is not ready to admit it to herself.  And off course she is also a bit of a "busy body" that knows the secrets of the whole town.  I highly recommend the audio book.

3.  So many people recommended it after I finished THE HUSBAND SECRET that I got BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty.  I listen to a few chapters every day in my car while I commute to and from work.  So far so good . . . the story takes place in Australia, so the narrator has a slight accent which I am loving.

4.  I started my new chemo treatment this past week and the side effects are a bit easier to handle than the first try.  Still nauseous but not as much.  It is just much, much more expensive.  This is what R 10,000.00 looks like . . . EX-PEN-SIVE!!!!!

Till next week

Sunday, September 21, 2014

{Movie} Review: The Other Woman

The Other Woman (2014)
Starring:  Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton

After discovering her boyfriend is married, Carly Whitten tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he's been cheating on, she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing SOB.

This is a perfect chick flick for that lazy afternoon when you just want to enjoy a fun nonsense film.  There is absolutely no way that this could ever represent reality and that is what makes it so enjoyable.

And off course they are all so beautiful.  I loved how you could see the little laugh lines around Cameron Diaz' eyes.  I am so happy that she has not fallen into the "face lift trend" that some of more mature stars have fallen into.

Don't forget, there are loads of bikini scenes to keep your husband or boyfriend glued to screen next to you.

The three stars look like they enjoyed making the movie and it definitely translates to the screen. I had some "spit-out-the-cooldrink" moments.  And as you would expect, we get our happy ending with a little epilogue for each of our girls.

I would definitely recommend this one!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #11

Bookish and Not-so-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. Here we can talk about our week or anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Even rants are allowed (good or bad). You are welcome here. Come and share anything you want with us.

1.  My next door neighbor and I talk more via Facebook that we do face-to-face.  How life can changed!  It is sad really.

2.  Don’t you just hate it when some people can get away with anything?  In my workplace there are certain procedures that have to be followed in certain scenarios.  I have pointed this out to a client but when she complained to management, all rules were lifted so that she could get her way . . . hate that!  If something is enforced for me, it should also be enforced for you . . .

3.  Angela from Angela's Anxious Life spoke about the podcast of Welcome to Nightvale.  Like her, I am not a bit fan of podcasts.  But because she loved it, I listened to the pilot episode.  Definitely crazy and weird but that is not a bad thing.  I think I will listen to a few more episodes.  Like one of the reviews said, it is like a modern twist on The Twilight Zone.  It is a fictional story about the strange happenings in Nightvale told through the local radio show broadcasts.

4.  I think I might be addicted to Ebay.  This is what I bought this time.  It is a little owl flashdrive.

5.  I received the autobiography of PJ Powers from Penguin Books South Africa today.  Yay!  PJ Powers is one of the icons of South Africa - she was the lead singer of Hotline, a South African band that did not care about the apartheid rules of the time.  I can't wait to read her story - I love biographies.  Thank you, Penguin Books South Africa!!

6.  I am currently listening to two books.  The first one is in my car - The Sixteen Lives of Harry August.

When Harry dies, he is reborn at exactly the same moment in time.  His lives loops through exactly the same events in history every time around.  I have just passed Chapter 41 and I am enjoying it all but it definitely a book with a difference.

The other book that I am listening to is Afterparty.   

This is the story about a drug that makes it users discover (experience) an ever-present God.  We meet Lyda who is a neuroscientist that was part of the group that developed a drug that sounds very similar but was abandoned because of the danger it caused. The story begins with her interview to be released from the mental hospital where she had been admitted after her multiple breakdowns.  She needs to get out to stop this nightmare from repeating itself.  
The story is somewhere in the near future and I am enjoying the little snippets of the world of tomorrow but the story is really about people and their emotions, motivations and actions.  I am more than halfway through and enjoying it.

7.  Tomorrow starts our training for a new computer program being introduced at work.  Three hours a day for the next month or so on top of the daily work that needs to be completed.  This is going to be interesting to say the least.  But I love learning new computer programs, so maybe it will also be a little fun.  We will see.

Until next time . . . 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

{Movie} Review: After the Dark

After the Dark (2013)
Starring:  James D'Arcy, Sophie Lowe, Freddie Stroma

When the last day of school comes for a group of students in a philosophy class, their instructor, Mr. Zimit, challenges them to different sorts of exercises that take place in a post-nuclear apocalyptic world. While there, they each get chosen professions and have to decide whether who is valuable or not because the bunker they will be staying in for a year has only enough oxygen for 10 people. Mr. Zimit challenges them in different rounds to see how they could survive. Issues arise when they notice Mr. Zimit is disruptive to the game.

My thoughts: 
We watched this movie last night and I have to admit that I would not make a good philosophy student. Even though the questions and scenarios were all hypothetical, I really hated Mr Zimit for even the suggestions he made.  I take things way to personally and I am sure I would have felt like some of the students in the class did.

It was fun watching the three games - in the first game, the students were given professions only;   anything from an opera singer to an engineer.  In the second, there was something extra added.  The opera singer could speak 7 languages but would die of throat cancer in three years for example.  That made the choices much harder to determine who would enter the bunker and who would not - the existence of the human race is at stake after all.

The final game was led by one of the students making all the choices.  In this game, I had a bit of an issue with the storyline that went off track a bit - only one point did not make sense for me.  But it is just a movie, so I could overlook it to enjoy the story until the end.

Talking about the ending . . . if someone could explain that to me . . . .

It was an enjoyable movie but I would recommend.  Just remember this is fiction!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #10

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too. Come and share anything you want with us.

1.  My husband bought me a little Sansa-clip for Xmas so that I could enjoy the goodies from Audible (and I am) but I am not too fond of having to use little earphones all the time.  Then I found this cute little speaker on eBay and I am loving it!  No more having issues with losing my place in a book.  If I am alone, I can just plug out the earphones and plug in the little blob (especially when driving!).  Works great!!  I love technology!!  And yes, I got a pink one :)

(photo from eBay - works with phones too)

2.  Still reading the THE HUSBAND's SECRET and enjoying it a lot.  I have gotten to the secret part :)  I am not so sure of the actions of all the characters . . . I am hoping they will redeem themselves.  On the other hand, what would I do in such a situation . . . difficult question.  This would make a great bookclub book - the discussions that could come out of it!  *update:  just finished it now - a five star read!*

This contain spoilers - highlight below only if you do not plan to read it.
By coincidence I have also watched some Crime & Investigation TV and it also featured a case where a young girl is murdered.  In both incidents, the daughter is murdered and the mother's whole existence becomes the murdered daughter.  I cannot imagine being in such a situation but I felt so sorry for the other siblings.  The mothers just kind of forgot about the other members of the family.  So sad . . . 

3.  My husband asked me if he should start worrying about closing his eyes at night.  Apparently I like the Crime and Investigation channel too much.  LoL


4.  Sunday was a super moon!  Hubby took this photo - isn't it pretty!  Apparently there is another super moon next month.

5.  So sad to hear of Robin Williams' suicide this week.  It is so sad that loads of comedians suffer from depression, we hear it more and more.  They make us laugh but deep down inside, the are battling enormous illnesses.  I am so grateful that this is one illness I do not suffer from.  I can't even imagine how terrible it must be not to be able to lift yourself out of the darkness.

Until next week . . .    

Sunday, August 10, 2014

{Movie}Review: Anna (2013)

Anna (2013)
Starring:   Mark StrongTaissa FarmigaBrian Cox

In the near future or an alternate reality, there are memory detectives, people who have the ability to enter other peoples' electronically aided memories. They often are used to resolve psychological conflicts, and sometimes to exonerate someone from a crime. John was at one time the top in this field but he has been recovering from the death of his wife, and a stroke. To get back into work the head of the small firm he works for offers him what is supposed to be a simple job, getting 16 year old Anna to start eating again. However, the "simple job" turns into his most challenging.

My thoughts:
Why it that people that should know better always get sucked into bad situations.  They are supposed to be trained professionals.  John is a "memory detective" that get's sucked in by Anna's memories and don't see the signs.
Unfortunately we saw it all and we guessed some of the vital facts of the movie early on.  But it was still an enjoyable few hours watching John being manipulated by a very clever young girl.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #9

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too. Come and share anything you want with us.

1. Been watching some CNN and I have to admit that I find it very hard to stomach.  The presenter was asking the same question over and over because he was not getting the sensation-filled answers he was looking for.  I know Ebola is a serious decease but is it really helpful to try and start a panic.  I was feeling so sorry for the CDC guy that was just sticking to his guns and trying to be civilized with a presenter that was looking for the soundbite to propel his career.  Just wondering to myself if other people don't notice this too. Do you really believe any story that comes from them if you can see them "fishing" for something to build their ratings?

2.  Sadly Sharknardo 2 did not have the amazingness that was the first one.  Maybe I was not in enough of a silly mood . . . but I am going to try to watch the first one again and compare . . . so sad.

3.  You have to try this!  It is the world's easiest soup and in my opinion one of the yummiest!  Patato and Leek soup with only three ingredients (add a forth if you want to spoil yourself even more).  Boil equal parts patato and leeks until soft.  Bring out our hand blender and mash it all until smooth (I like it a little lumpy) and add a slosh of cream.  Oh my goodness - yum!  The indulging part is crumbled fried bacon on top :)

(photo borrowed from GoodFood website)

4.  I am having a bit of a reading slump.  Every book I start, begins to bore me after just a few hours.  What is wrong with me!  I am not calling them DNF books as I am sure that it is just my mood.  I am just parking them for a bit.  Started THE HUSBAND SECRET now and hopefully this is going to keep me going.  

5.  It is hard to let things go when you know you are right.  But it is just not important enough to argue about.

November is going to be Sci-Fi month.  I love science fiction books and movies but we have a rocky relationship.  It seems to be hit of miss for me.  I am looking for books and movies, so please let me know your favourites, so that I have begin reading . . .

Sunday, August 3, 2014

{Movie} Review: Triangle (2009)

Triangle (2009)
Starring:  Melissa George

When Jess sets sail on a yacht with a group of friends, she cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong. Her suspicions are realized when the yacht hits a storm and the group is forced to board a passing ocean liner to get to safety, a ship Jess is convinced she's been on before. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped, but they are not alone... Someone is intent on hunting them down, one by one. And Jess unknowingly holds the key to end the terror.

My thoughts:
I loved this movie.  All the twists and turns keep you guessing until almost the final seconds.  It makes you realize that you do not need big budget special effects to make a great movie, you just need a good story.  I have added this one to my favorites of all time.

It is difficult to talk about this movie because I don't want to give anything away.  I was even hesitant to add the whole blurb above.  What makes it a great movie is that you are kept guessing, so don't watch any of the trailers.  I was unable to find a trailer to add to this post as they all give too much away.  So stay away!

The only advise I can give, is to listen to the dialogue and take notice of the details in all the scenes. Something in the background of one scene might become significant later in the story.   There is a lot of gore in this movie but it is part of the atmosphere and terror that Jess feels, so do not let that keep you away.

Please let me know what you thought after watching this one.  You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #10

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too. Come and share anything you want with us.

I have been missing in action for a bit again.  This time it is for a good reason though.  I completed my ninth (and hopefully final) chemo session.  Yay!!

I don't know if it was just because I knew it was the last treatment but this time the side effects really threw me for a loop.  Luckily it is past tense now.  In a few weeks' time I will go for tests and we will take it from there.  But for now . . . yay!!!!!  Finished!!!

1.  Bookwise, I finished THE RAPTURE that I spoke of last time and the review is below this post if you want to read about my thoughts. It was one of those books that just had the perfect ending.  The author got it just right.
Next up I started Her Fearful Symmetry by the author of The Time Traveler's Wife but it just got too much about halfway through.   Some parts were fascinating - especially the scenes of one of the characters that has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  But otherwise, I found my mind wandering - always a bad sign.  I might try again at a later stage.
Yesterday morning I started Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves.  Wow, weird does not begin to describe the craziness that is happening on the pages of this book.  I am loving it!  The story starts when the two daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer catches an intruder in their bedroom. It is definitely horror as the two sisters give in to their killer instincts but there are also some fantasy with the weird goings-on in town. And I love the cover - just look at it!  Not a book that I found around the blogosphere a lot but this might be a hit with me.

2.  I love quirky movies and loved the absolutely awfulness that was Sharknado.  We laughed so hard at all the cliches - it was wonderful.  This evening SHARKNADO 2 will be unleashed in my house.  Can't wait to watch it!

If you are looking for something to cheer you up, just watch this trailer :) 

I will sign off for today as I have not really been outside this past week and hopefully I have loads to chat about next time.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Audiobook}Review: The Rapture

The Rapture
by Liz Jensen
Genre: Apocalyptic Thriller
Date Read:  20 July 2014 
Reading with my ears 
Narrator:  India Fisher   
Unabridged audio - Length: 12 hours 42 minutes

It is a June unlike any other before, with temperatures soaring to asphyxiating heights. All across the world, freak weather patterns—and the life-shattering catastrophes they entail—have become the norm. The twenty-first century has entered a new phase.; But Gabrielle Fox’s main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her life after a devastating car accident that has left her disconnected from the world, a prisoner of her own guilt and grief. Determined to make a fresh start, and shake off memories of her wrecked past, she leaves London for a temporary posting as an art therapist at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital, home to one hundred of the most dangerous children in the country. Among them: the teenage killer Bethany Krall.Despite two years of therapy, Bethany is in no way rehabilitated and remains militantly nonchalant about the bloody, brutal death she inflicted on her mother. Raised in evangelistic hellfire, the teenager is violent, caustic, unruly, and cruelly intuitive. She is also insistent that her electroshock treatments enable her to foresee natural disasters—a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion.
But as Gabrielle delves further into Bethany’s psyche, she begins to note alarming parallels between her patient’s paranoid disaster fantasies and actual incidents of geological and meteorological upheaval—coincidences her professionalism tells her to ignore but that her heart cannot. When a brilliant physicist enters the equation, the disruptive tension mounts—and the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator or a harbinger of global disaster on a scale never seen before? Where does science end and faith begin? And what can love mean in “interesting times”?
With gothic intensity, Liz Jensen conjures the increasingly unnerving relationship between the traumatized therapist and her fascinating, deeply calculating patient. As Bethany’s warnings continue to prove accurate beyond fluke and she begins to offer scientifically precise hints of a final, world-altering cataclysm, Gabrielle is confronted with a series of devastating choices in a world in which belief has become as precious - and as murderous—as life itself.

My thoughts:
The blurb above sounds very attractive, doesn't it?  Unfortunately the main character, Gabrielle Fox, detracted from the story so much that I had to slog through just to get to the end.

That woman needs someone to slap some sense into her.  She has a running inner-monologue throughout the book and all she seems to be grieving for is her lost womanwood because she is paralyzed.  It really gets a bit tedious to have to listen to it very few pages.  Because I had developed such a dislike for Gabrielle, it was difficult for me to keep an open mind but the story still kept me listening. That says a lot for the author.

Just imagine if you knew someone that was accurately predicting disasters and then started predicating the apocalypse.   Would you believe them?  And what would you do with that information?  

I will not comment on the ending except to say that it was perfect.  When I was getting near to the end of the mp3 file, I was getting nervous that so much still needed to be said but Liz Jensen just nailed it.  As I said . . . perfect.

If you are able to keep from wanting to kill Gabrielle, you will love this book.  It is definitely a different way to see the end of the world . . .  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

{Movie}Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune -- all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

My thoughts:
What a crazy fun movie!  And filled with so many famous stars.

I loved it and there are many scenes where my husband and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing.  Truly an unique, quirky movie.  The only downside was that the ending kind of sneaked up on us. Suddenly it was just over . . . we were enjoying the story and then in a few minutes we were just told what happened to the characters.

But still a very enjoyable movie!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #9

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too. Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.   I previously talked about getting out my beading boxes from storage and dusting them off.  Well, this past Sunday I decided to try something new while looking through my stash.
I really love how this beaded rivoli came out!  I am definitely going to be trying more this coming weekend.

Not so fond of this second one and will most probably be destroying  it soon so that I can use the beads again (wow, beads are sooooo expensive!).  Since making these two brooches, I have gone on an online shopping spree.  I am so glad that internet shopping was invented.  There is absolutely nothing like browsing shops in your favourite comfy chair and buying . . . and buying . . . . and buying . . .

2.  Due to human error *cough cough* I lost my place in my IT (by Stephen King) listening experience . . .  as soon as I get my SD card back, I will search for my place again :)  While I wait, I have started listening to THE RAPTURE, an earlier novel by Liz Jensen (of The Uninvited-fame). Goodreads link

I am really enjoying the story but I want to seriously slap some sense into the main character, Gabrielle Fox.  She is paralyzed from the waist and it feels like every few minutes we have to listen to her inner-monologue about not being a woman because she cannot use her legs.  It gets a bit tedious in the long run but I am trying to slog through as the premise of the story is fascinating.  What would you do if you believed that someone could accurately predict disasters before they happen?  What if they are predicting the end of the world . . .

3.  This song is beautiful and such a wonderful message . . .

4.  Life has been a runaway car this past week - I have hardly taken a breath . . . so I apologize for this short update this week.  I will try to get my ducks in a row . . .

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #8

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1. I am not a big soccer fan. But since it is the World Cup, I have been watching the last few matches and will be watching the final as well (Go Netherlands!). *writing this post before the start of the semi final*  One thing that really works on my nerves though, is everyone falling over when someone just breathes in their direction . . . really??!! . . .   So I wanted to share this little video with you . . . sure to make you smile :)

2.   Can I also just say a very heartfelt . . . poor, poor Brazil.  I felt so bad for them loosing in such a humiliating way.

3.  I don't understand how clothing line suppliers/purchasers/shoppers think?  This morning when I went to the post office (at about 10am), it was still only 5 °C.  I had the car heater on!  We are smack in the middle of winter with two months to go before spring will even consider making an appearance and the shops are full of skimpy summer clothes.  Why????  I am looking for a thick sweater!  Oh my goodness, I am so grumpy today :)

4.  I am still working through IT by Stephen King.  Am enjoying it a lot with about 38 hours to go (I did not get much listening time while I was in bed recovering for the chemo this past weekend/week.  I just want to lie and forget everything - praying for the time to pass).   I am happy to report that Beverley discovered a little bit of her fighting spirit but I was disappointed in how little she did.  I know this book was written in the 80's and I am sure for that time, it was a big and brave stand but nowadays we are used to our women "fighting like a girl" - I wanted him to SUFFER.

LoL - look at that, grumpy and evil!  :)

5.  I reviewed the movie version of 1408 this past Sunday and wanted to find the original short story as I have never read it.  Luckily it was an easy find, so I am currently listening to it inbetween other books.  I am really enjoying the narrator.  His flat tone is perfect for this story . . . although I have a strong feeling to slap Mike upside the head!

6.  Got my laptop back and slowly but surely I am working through finding all that was lost.  Hopefully I will be back to normal by this weekend.  I am so behind with my reviews!

That is all for now - have a great weekend! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

{Movie}Review: 1408

1408 (2007):
Starring: John Cusak, Samuel J Jackson

The cynical and skeptical writer Mike Enslin writes books evaluating supernatural phenomena in hotels, graveyards and other haunted places, usually debunking the mystery. While writing his latest book, he travels from Los Angeles to New York to spend one night in the Dolphin Hotel's evil room 1408, which is permanently unavailable for guests. The reluctant manager Mr. Gerald Olin objects to his request and offers an upgrade, expensive booze and finally relates the death of more than fifty guests over decades in the cursed room. However Mike threatens Mr. Olin, promising to sue the hotel, and is finally allowed to check into the room. Later in the night, he finds that guests of room 1408, once they have checked in, might never leave the room alive.

My thoughts:
Stephen King has not been very successful when it comes to movies made from his books but this one is a little gem.  You are not so much shown the horror as given little glimpses to make you feel the suspense - this is psychological horror at it's best. 

John Cusak is an expert at playing a tortured hero and in 1408 he becomes the cynical cult story writer trying to show that this hotel and it's ghost is just a scam.  I am hesitant to say anymore - you don't want to be robbed of all the shocking, scary moments.   

Also watch out for the alternative ending . . . I am not sure which one I prefer . . .

I really need to find the novella as I have not read the original pages.   I have heard that the movie is very close to the short story.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #7

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise. Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too. Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.  I  finally watched 2001:  A Space Odyssey from beginning to end.  Previously I have only seen pieces at a time.  Now I have to admit, I am totally lost as to why this movie has received so many accolades.   I found it long and drawn out . . . and worst of all, I could not find what the movie was trying to say.
I always thought the movie was actually about HAL (the onboard computer) that went crazy but this was only about 10 minutes of the entire movie (my husband disagrees with me on this and says that HAL was in fact trying to save humanity by preventing the astronauts from reaching Jupiter).   
If anyone has any insight into this movie, I would love to hear what you think.

2.  I am not good with technology but I had a Blackberry phone for a few years and when it was time to upgrade, I chose a Blackberry again.  What a mistake!  I hate my Blackberry Z10!  What were they thinking, this phone is the worse!  And I have to wait another year before it is time for a upgrade again!  Maybe I should just buy a cheap android in the meantime, it can't be worse than this phone!

3.  Unfortunately Annihilation (that I mentioned last week) was not that great - average at best although I am going to look out for the sequel.  I started reading Before I go to sleep also as I decided last week and am about halfway.  I am not sure what to think yet.  It is a strange story so far. I needed a new audiobook and decided to re-read (re-listen) IT by Stephen King.

I read it about 20 years ago and can remember only the barest outlines of the story.  But my Audio-Bookclub (on Goodreads) was discussing what a brilliant narrator Steven Weber is, so I went in search.  I found the book and immediately started listening.  I have only just started (42 hours to go!) and in one of the first few chapters we are introduced to Beverley.  She is in an abusive (physically and verbally) relationship - married to Tom.   The chapter is told from the husband's point of view and I am finding it very hard to listen to.  I have had to stop a few times - just to catch my breath.  It is difficult to listen to his thoughts about tactical moves to push his control onto her.  How he enjoys seeing the fear in her face. . . and he has just taken out a leather belt that he has made especially for "disciplining" her.   I know this is reality in many relationships but it is still difficult to read.  As Beverley is one of the main characters, I am hoping that she is able to get out of this explosive situation in their bedroom soon.

4.   My laptop is sick and I am waiting for the experts to find the problem and hopefully fix it all.  I am going to be so disappointed if it means a "formatting exercise".  I can just see myself searching for all my old programs and passwords.  It is scary how reliant I have become on my little laptop.  I miss him terribly.   

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Call the doctor!!

Just a note to let you guys know that my laptop had gotten sick and needs a doctor!  I am currently using an old laptop that is very shaky, so I am not able to post as I would like to.

Hope you see you online soon! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

{Online Game}Review: Forge of Empires


In the browser game Forge of Empires you can build your own city and experience all of history from its perspective - from the stone age on through the centuries. Explore new technologies that ring in a new era. Leave a mark with unique, contemporary buildings and establish a gigantic metropolis that is unparalleled anywhere. Increase your empire with sophisticated strategic campaigns and skilled actions in Forge of Empires.

The strategy game Forge of Empires takes you through the different eras - explore new building types and technologies to continue developing your settlement. Meet the challenges of the single-player campaigns until you rule an entire continent, or compete against other players in the multiplayer mode. In the browser game Forge of Empires, dedicate yourself to research and develop more advanced battle units, innovative products and spectacular buildings. Passionate builders will have many opportunities to develop and beautify their cities in this strategy game. Good economic skills are essential in Forge of Empires to finance the growth of your empire with your residents’ tax money.
But not everything is peaceful in Forge of Empires. Fight exciting battles, use a variety of units and incorporate the individual features of the terrain in order to win. On the battle field you can either take on the computer or give other players a lesson in battle strategy. Steer the fate of your empire: Forge of Empires!

I am a bad gamer.  I have a real problem with figuring out where to go to find your next mission or how to solve the weird puzzles.  I get killed a lot.  And the frustration always make me give up after a few tries.

But this real time game (if it takes 4 hours to build a building – it takes four hours!) has had me hooked for the last few months.  Foe is a free online game where you build your little city through the ages.  I have played for a few months already and I am still in the Middle Ages.  I have recently been able to join a guild and now I am part of a team of players.  Having great fun!


If you want to join in the action, you can go here:

Let me know you gaming name, so we can be friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #6

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.  I had to give up on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton.  I so wanted to love it but unfortunately it turned out to be just a lot of politics.  No “this happened while I was in the White House”, no it was (up until I gave up) dry, play-by-play, commentary.  It was just “we moved from point A to point B and then the Democrats said this and the Republicans replied with that . . .”  OH.MY.GOODNESS . . . I wanted personal details and stories not history lessons.  I am not even interested in the politics of my own country . . .  very disappointing.  I really like and respect Hillary Clinton and think that she has had a hard public life (especially with a husband like Bill Clinton and the scandal he brought into her life).  I admire how she has come through everything as a strong independent woman.  That is what I wanted to hear about. 

2.  Since I was diagnosed in November last year, I have put most of my hobbies on hold.  It was not just that I did not have the energy, I also lost my mojo.  I did not see the point of going on doing such mundane things when there was some living to be done.  But this past weekend, I picked up my needle again (strange what a upcoming birthday present decision can make you do!).  I have only done a couple of rows of very basic stitches but how I have missed it!  I am eager to sort out our garage this coming weekend and search out the boxes with my supplies that I stored somewhere in a corner.  Here is an example of one of the peyote bracelets I made last year.  I am just making a very basic multi color bracelet as a birthday gift for my boss but it is just put me in such a good mood.


3.  I watched a documentary on Discovery this week about the Busiest Train Station in the world (Japan).  Some of the workers live inside the station in little cubicle worker quarters.  Their airbeds are automatically deflated at a certain time in the morning so that they are not late for work.  I think that is a brilliant idea!  I need it in my bedroom – I hate getting out of the warm bed when the rain is beating against the windows.  Just another 5 minute snooze . . .

4. I loved THE ROSIE PROJECT, I really loved it.  It was a five star read (listen) for me.   When I rated on Goodreads, it automatically tweeted my rating and this morning Don Tillman Phd favored the tweet.  Hie-Hie.  Don Tillman is the fictional lead character of the book.  How sweet is that – “they” (whoever they might be? Publisher?) created a twitter handle for him.  Too cute!  I had to start following . . . I loved the character, so I can imagine what might be said . . .

Hopefully my next week’s reads will be equally enjoyable.  I started Annihilation for a bit of horror and afterwards will start 
Before I go to sleep for some psychological scaryness.  The reviews seem to be glowing, so let’s hope.


5.  I am so looking forward to the weekend – sometimes work can be such a shlepp . . . urgh, wish I could win the lotto!  I am definitely not a career-minded person.  I only work because I have too – I do not have a career, I have a job Smile  Luckily the people I spend my day with are not too bad and on Friday we will be celebrating soccer fever.   Our different departments will be having a goal shooting contest.