Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Eye in the Sky - review

Eye in the Sky is Alan Rickman's last film, so my friend and I sat down to watch it with ... well, no expectations. I didn't even know what it was about.

And it's actually kind of riveting. Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman are both high-ups in the British Army and on the day the movie is set, they've found three of the most-wanted terrorists on Britain's list.

The movie plays out over the course of the day and shows the debates - moral, ethical and legal - that come up as Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and various higher-ups try to decide what action to take against the terrorists.

Helen Mirren's character has been tracking one of the terrorists for years, and this informs the choices she  makes throughout the movie.

For a lot of the movie nothing happens except for a fair amount of talking, but it's somehow really, really, really riveting. By the end of it I was absolutely glued to the screen.

And it raised some interesting questions - where collateral damage is concerned - what's acceptable? What would people be more likely to forgive - the definite saving of one life, or the probable saving of many?

Definitely recommend Eye in the Sky.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Sunday post 83, It's Monday, What are you reading? 68

The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to have a chat and a catch-up - is hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday, What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

First of all, it's so hot here. Like. So. Hot. I haaaaaaaaaate it. It was over 30deg celsius here today, which is unusual and also terrible. We need rain pretty badly and honestly I just need it to cool down.

Work continues. And I got yelled at and hung up on for the first time last week. It's a rite of passage I guess, but I did not like it, Sam I Am.

I haven't been doing much besides work. I went to my friend's last night and we watched Eye in the Sky - Alan Rickman's last movie. I'm going to write a review but I really enjoyed it.

Today I painted my nails like I do every Sunday and watched the live War of the Worlds that was filmed in 2013. I love the War of the Worlds musical, and it was really fun to watch.

I'm still working through The Hound of Death by Agatha Christie, and I'm also reading The Belle Sauvage - the prequel to His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. Next up is possibly Sleeping Beauties or It Devours, I'm not sure yet.

So how are you doing? What are you reading?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The Dark is Rising Sequence

This isn't a review.

The Dark is Rising sequence is one of my favourite series, and has been since I was about ... 11, I think. When my mother and I would go to the public library, this series was one of my go-tos to borrow and read.

Many years later I bought my own copies and I've read them twice now as an adult.

For me, the series holds up really well. My favourite of the series remains Greenwitch, and I still feel a little desolate and heartbroken by the last few pages of Silver on the Tree.

What got me reading it again recently, was a readalong on twitter - search the hashtag #TheDarkisReading, and you will see what I mean. The idea of the readalong was to time the chapters of the second book - The Dark is Rising - with the 12 days of midwinter, starting with the winter solstice.

I started with the first book, Over  Sea Under Stone, because I'm a completionist, and also because ... it's summer here, so no atmospheric midwinter to go with the reading of it.

I did, however, greatly enjoy participating in the readalong. (I participated on my "other" twitter, janesgravity, which is my fannish space where I get loud and annoying about things, and where I saw the hashtag first, so I followed along from there).

The readalong - hosted by twitter users @RobGMacfarlane and @juliamarybird, it - for me - showed the best of what twitter CAN be. In this case, a community of readers brought together by the love of a book series. There was also an art related hashtag - #theartisirising, where very, very talented people shared their artwork inspired by the series and the readalong.

The series itself is steeped in Arthurian legends and follows the adventures of a group of children - though they don't all come together in the same space until the last book - as they battle against the last rising of the Dark that threatens to take over the world.

I loved it as an 11-year-old, sitting on the shores of Lake Wakatipu at Kingston, imagining myself adventuring with Will and Bran and the rest, and I love it just as much now, as an adult.

Sharing the reading experience made it all that much richer, and I hope there will be more readalongs to come.

And - funnily enough - I can still remember the opening stanza of the predictive poem that frames The Dark is Rising:

"When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back.
Three from the circle, and three from the track.
Wood, bronze, iron, water, fire, stone.
Five will return, and one go alone."

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sunday Post 82, It's Monday, What are you reading? 67

The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to have a chat and a catch-up - is hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

After a very quiet New Year's Day and day after, it was back to work on Wednesday. Which, as I'm sure you can imagine, was pretty busy. Thursday and Friday calmed down a bit, but were still steady. I'm still in the newlywed phase a bit, where I'm still starry-eyed about even HAVING a job, so I'm not really complaining about being busy.

Spawn has been on holiday as such, as, luckily, J's break from his job coincides with the holiday programme we have spawn in shutting down over Christmas/New Year. We are all back to "normal" tomorrow, however.

Other than that ... I've set some goals - I won't call them resolutions, because that never works. But, for this year, this is what I'm going to work on:

1) Finally getting my driver's licence
2) Read 52 books
3) Watch 52 movies
4) Finally finish my Circe cross-stitch that I started in 2004
5) Pay off my outstanding bills and be financially stable
6) Be kind, drink more water and eat more fruit
7) Write

It's not a bad list of goals as goals go :)

As for what I'm reading ... I took part in #TheDarkisReading - a The Dark is Rising readalong on the twitter.com - though, of course, I couldn't just read ONE book of the series and ended up re-reading the whole thing, and that series still holds up as one of my absolute favourites. I came into 2018 reading the last two books - The Grey King and Silver on the Tree, and greatly enjoyed the whole experience.

Now I'm chipping away at some Agatha Christie short stories in the form of the book Hound of Death, which contains the short story Witness for the Prosecution, recently made into a TV series.

J went to the library today and brought home The Book of Dust and SOMEHOW thought he'd be able to read it before I got my fingerprints on it, so that's on the go as well.

How about you? How's your week going? What are you reading?

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Review - Far from the world we know by Harper Bliss

After an extremely traumatic event, Laura Baker moves to the small town of Nelson, Texas. She moves in to the house owned by her Aunt Milly who has just gone into a resthome.

Tess Douglas was born and raised in Nelson, and the moment she lays her eyes on Laura she knows that there's the potential for something special.

But Laura's trauma - and her caution - runs deep, and Tess knows if she pushes Laura too fast and too soon, she could lose something truly remarkable.

The women agree to be friends,  and both find themselves exploring unexpected emotional depths.

I really enjoyed this. Both Tess and Laura are late 30s-early 40s-something, and so they both have life experience. Everything that they've gone through feeds into the way they negotiate their new relationship - especially for Laura, who has real and solid reasons to be wary of a new relationship.

The novel builds in a very satisfying way, and the emotional payoff is well worth it.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Sunday post 81, It's Monday, What are you reading? 66

The Sunday Post - a chance for bloggers to have a chat and a catch-up - is hosted by Kimba, here: https://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com/ and It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Kathryn, here: https://bookdate.blogspot.co.nz/

I've been absent a couple of weeks, but I'm trying to go into 2018 with good habits and intentions, so let's see how well this goes.

We had a quiet Christmas at home, just the three of us. It was nice, and also timely, as spawn spiked a fever. I think it was an ear infection and it passed after a couple of days, but it would have been miserable for him if we had been out and about.

I've been working through - I haven't been there long enough to request holidays and we do have the stat days off anyway, so a couple of long weekends are nothing to complain about.

Work is going well. Sometimes I still have a mild shock that after so long I actually found a job, but here I am. Salaried and contributing and paying taxes and everything. And fretting about childcare - lol.

I took spawn to see The Last Jedi yesterday, and we both enjoyed it. Overall I preferred The Force Awakens but The Last Jedi was good. I also started my annual new cross-stitch project and Lord of the Rings rewatch last night. What can I say, when I party, I go hard out.

As for reading, I'm doing the #TheDarkisReading readalong of The Dark is Rising on the twitter. I decided to re-read the whole series and I'm up to book four, so my first read of 2018 will be The Grey King. Speaking of reading, I tanked my Goodreads goal so badly. So, so, so badly.

So for 2018 my reading goal is 52 books - pretty sure I can manage one a week. I also want to try and watch one movie a week. We'll see how that goes.

As far as resolutions go - I do want to set some goals, but my resolutions are the same as last year, I think: read more, drink more water, be kind.

What about you? How's your week? What are you reading?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Review - Relics by Tim Lebbon

Angela Gough is leading a happy if unremarkable life when her fiance Vince disappears.

Angela sets out to find him, and discovers that the London she thought she knew is actually a much, much stranger place than she could possibly have imagined.

Beings that were assumed to be nothing more than myths and legends turn out to be real - and the black market that deals in their artifacts is also very, very real.

Angela finds out that Vince has been working for a London gangster and retrieving these artifacts for his collection.

However, someone else is out there as well, and they are bent on killing the Kin that remain...

I have to admit, my reaction to Relics was a bit ambivalent. I enjoyed the pace of the story, and I really enjoyed the premise, but there was something about the execution that kind of made me think "... more?" I'm not sure what it was, or why, but I wanted there to be more to it than there was.

Having said that, it's the first book in a projected trilogy, so hopefully the elements that I found really fascinating - the idea of the Kin, and their fight for survival - might be more prominent in the next instalment.