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I recently hired the 'The Blind Side' and really enjoyed the film. The front cover and description on the back caught my attention. STORYLINE The film is based on the true story of Michael (also called Big Mike). He does not have the best of upbringings and is left with no home, family or support. He is taken in by a white family with a large expensive house and all the material things that could wish for. The film centres around the mother of this family who fights on Mike's behalf and really takes him under her wing. CHARACTERS The main characters in the story are Big Mike and Leigh Ann Touhy (the Mother of the white family). Big Mike is very likely and lovable. Although he is a large young man he seems to treat everything with real compassion and is very gentle. Not what you would expect from looking at his build. He works hard and does not let his awful family background to pull him back. He makes the most of what he has been given. The compassion that Leigh Ann shows is heart warming and inspirational. Her friends question what she is doing and she has to talk her own family around at the beginning. I also found it interesting how Leigh's 2 children also benefited from Big Mike living with them and what they learnt through the experience. The acting was really good and you get totally absorbed within the storyline. BEST BITS The best bits about this film are that it is based on a true story and is really heart-warming and inspirational. WORST BITS There are some parts that are sad and moving. OVERALL OPINION I had not heard of this film before, but am really pleased that I watched it. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to any other people. I enjoy films that are based on true stories, especially when they have such meaning behind the storyline. The film makes you appreciate what you have in life and is an eye opener to how other people are forced to live.
STORYLINE This is a ghost story about 2 twins. Julia and Velentina that live in America with their parents and have had little contact with their Aunt (Elspeth) in London. When their Aunt dies, she leaves them her flat in Highgate, beside the cemetery, but their parents are unable to visit the flat. Elspeth becomes a ghost trapped in her flat. She tries to communicate with the girls and her boyfriend, Robert, who lives under the flat. AUTHOR I picked up this book after enjoying Time Travellers Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger. I enjoyed the book, but enjoyed 'The Time Travellers wife' more. I would be interested in reading her other books that she has written. The 2 books that I have read are both about death / spirits and have both sad storylines. CHARACTERS The book is a fascinating read about the relationship that the girls have with each other, and then with Robert and Martin (a reclusive man that lives in the flat above). The book was a bit slow to begin with and I struggled to get myself into the story. It picked up in the middle and I could not put it down by the end. I was in suspense about the ending, but was disappointed with how it ended. BEST BITS I enjoyed the development of the characters and the way they learnt about each other and the relationship between the girls changed and the relationship between the girls and the neighbours developed from nothing. WORST BITS I did not like the ending and thought that the ending could have been better. I was disappointed with the ending, but I will not ruin the storyline for others that want to read the book.
A close friend gave me this book to read. We both enjoy Jodi Picoult books and she said that this book was written in a similar way, with a moral issue that gets you thinking. I enjoyed her style of writing and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books in the future. STORYLINE Before the Storm is a story about Andy, who has Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, his mother Laurel and his sister, Maggie. There is a fire started at the local church, Andy finds a safe exit and leads other children to safety. But he is then under suspicion of starting the fire. Each chapter is written from the point of view of a different character. The story also jumps from before the birth or Andy to the time of the fire. I enjoyed this style and found it interesting and compelling, and not boring at all. It was fascinating reading the story from the different points of view of each character. It shows that stories and real life are not always so simple and are portrayed in different ways by different people. AUTHOR This was the first book of Diane Chamberlain's that I had read. She has a similar writing style to Jodi Picoult. I would still say that Jodi Picoult is my favourite author, but I would like to read other Diane Chamberlain's books. WRITING STYLE Her writing style of similar to Jodi's, switching from character to character, between the chapters. She is descriptive and you get a good understanding of the characters and how they are feeling. CHARACTERS I sometimes find books confusing when there are too many characters and sub plots involved, but this book was easy to follow. I really developed an understanding for each of the characters. Although it was difficult to relate to some parts, like Laurel (the mother) drinking while she was pregnant with Andy, Diane describes well the awful situation and isolation that she faces. It was interesting reading the storyline of Maggie, I believe the siblings of children growing up with various physical and mental disabilities are often the ones who are really suffering, with little time or attention for them, BEST BITS I enjoyed the development of the characters and the twist in the storyline at the end of the book. SUMMARY This was a very interesting and thought-provoking read, looking at the relationships and dynamics within a family. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
This was another book suggested by my new book club. I really enjoyed this book, I could not put it down. It has been the best book I have read in a long time and I read it really quickly. STORYLINE The story is told by Serena and Poppy, two girls that are having a relationship with an older man, Marcus, their teacher. The story starts when they begin their relationship begins and follows the girls until Marcus' death. Poppy and Serena are the only witnesses to the death and each of them blames the other. The book returns to the girls when they are women, Poppy has just been released from prison and Serena is married with 2 children. Their lives are very different now, but they will always be connected through Marcus. The book is gripping & compelling. It was hard to put down. AUTHOR I had already read Marshmellows for breakfast, that a friend had recommended, and really enjoyed it. I enjoy the style of writing and her choice of subject matter and storylines. I will be looking for her other books after enjoying Ice Cream Girls as well. I would say she is one of my favourite authors at the moment. WRITING STYLE Her writing style is easy to read and follow. She is descriptive and brings the characters alive, while keeping you really interested in the story. CHARACTERS Poppy was a character that you could really sympathise with. Her life has changed because of her stay in prison. Although Serena married and had children, the life that involved Marcus still haunts her and she has been unable to move on from this. BEST BITS The characters really came to life for me. I was able to really feel for their situations. The author tackles issues that get the reader really thinking. I find her books more interesting than some other 'chic lit' authors. I really enjoy books that you can discuss with friends and helps you consider and learn lessons in life. WORST BITS I don't think there were any bits I unliked about this book. It was a shame when it ended.
I picked up the DVD of 'Goodnight Mr Tom', after hearing about it from some friends and family who had read it for GCSEs. I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anyone. The film is based on the book. Its about a boy called William Beech who is evacuated to the country, from London. He is placed with a gentleman called Tom Oakley, who initially seems like a lonely, grumpy man, but the film shows that he lost his wife and son and he is still grieving for them. The storyline develops to show how William has been mistreated in London by his mother. Tom is kind and caring and teaches him how to read and gives him a birthday celebration, which he says was the best day he's ever had. The relationship between Tom & William is touching and moving. William also makes some close friends with children who live in the same area. I will not ruin the whole storyline. It was gripping finding out what was happening to William and whether he would be sent back to London to his abusive Mother, or whether he would stay in the country with Tom and his friends. I have been told that the book is even better than the DVD. So I am hoping to read the book in the future, I'll add it to my reading list. The DVD is currently £5 at Amazon.
I have heard a lot about the Twilight stories and films, and thought I would see what all the fuss was about. I normally enjoy books better than the films made of them, so thought I would start with the books. Twilight is the first book of the series and is a book predominately aimed at teenagers about the love story of a 17 year old girl, Bella and a vampire (Edward). I am in my 30's and really enjoyed the book. I can understand why adult readers also enjoy this book. STORYLINE Bella moves away from her mum to live with her Dad in Forks. She seems lonely at first and struggles to fit in at school. She then sees a very handsome guy called Edward and each day at school soon revolves around her interactions with him. At the beginning Edward ignores her and she finds this frustrating. I was unable to put this book down, the storyline gripped me from the beginning and I read the book very quickly. I have not read any other vampire books, but would now consider reading others. CHARACTERS Bella is a likeable character who seems to be clumsy and accident prone. FAVOURITE PARTS I particular enjoyed the pace of the last part of the book, with more action than the beginning. There was more suspense and I was intrigued as to what would happen. The books that follow Twilight are New Moon and Eclipse, I'm looking forward to reading these. ISBM: 978-1904233657 464 pages £3.49 from Amazon
I have just finished reading the Midnight Girls by Lulu Taylor. This was the 2nd book for the book club I have joined. I bought the book and wondered how I would get through the 650 pages in the 3 weeks. I normally read quite slowly, but read this quite quickly. STORYLINE The story follows 3 girls (Allegra, Imogen and Romily) in boarding school. They are close friends and an incident happens that will change their lives forever. They make a pact that none of them will tell the secret to anyone else. The storyline then follows them as they grow up, going to University and into their early adulthood. Allegra helps her Uncle running an exclusive club. Imogen is a lawyer in London, working hard and Romily is a very rich heiress kept in luxury in France. As they grown older they start to drift apart, but all have the secret that binds them. It kept my interest because it follows each of the girls in quite depth, so you move from storyline to storyline. AUTHOR This was the first book of Lulu Taylor's books that I have read. I'm not sure if it was a book I would have picked up if I had not been part of the book club, but I really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to going out and buying her other book. Her other book is Heiresses. So she is still a fairly new author, with only 2 books out, and another one to be published in 2011. WRITING STYLE I was gripped by the book and it kept my interest, but there were lots of parts of a sexual nature. I don't normally read any books with any material like this, and didn't think that this was all necessary for the storyline. The characters were easy to get to know and felt real. There were parts where I laughed and parts where I cried. You could really sympathize with some of the characters and felt frustration towards others. It also showed a part of the upper class world that many people can only dream of. I think the book showed that no matter how much money you have it is your friends, family and partner that can really make you truly happy. BEST BITS My best of the book was the ending. It had a twist at the ending that I wasn't expecting and I enjoyed the storyline and suspense. WORST BITS My worst bits were the parts of a sexual nature. I would recommend this book to others and I enjoyed reading it.
This book was chosen by a newly formed bookclub I have joined. It is also recommended by Richard & Judy's summer reads. The story followed two stories: The first is set during the Second World War in Hong Kong between Will Truesdale and Trudy Liang. The second story is set in the 1950's in Hong Kong between Will Truesdale & Claire Pendleton - the piano teacher. I found the book hard to follow initially. Each chapter switched between the different settings, I found it difficult to understand the storyline and characters. I was lucky that I could read the book in quite large chunks, but if you were only reading a handful of pages a day it could be harder. I enjoyed the book more as the storylines developed and a section of the book was set in each setting. The storyline was interesting and I enjoyed learning more about life in Hong Kong. Parts set during the war were a bit depressing, but also fascinating. I really enjoyed the end of the book, with Claire learning the secrets that been hidden over the years. The book really came together for me towards the end of the book. I would recommend this book to others, although it is hard to get into at the beginning, it is worth sticking with and was an enjoyable read.
I have had a dairy allergy since a child, but have discovered that I am allergic to cow's milk, but not goats and sheep milk. The availability of goats and sheep dairy products have increased greatly in recent years. I am currently pregnant and therefore need to have a lot more calcium than I did previously. So I am drinking a lot of the goats milk. We normally buy the St Helen's range. I also buy the cheese and yogurt. The 1L carton is £1.34 normally. More expensive than cows milk, but nicer than some non dairy alternatives. I have used soya milk in the past, and rice milk, but the nice things about the goats milk is that it can be used in mostly the same way for cooking etc, whereas soya and rice do not act in the same ways. I have not had cows milk for a long time, but I think the taste of the goats milk is very similar. It is quite creamy, and not too strong tasting. I would recommend this product to anyone, especially those that are unable to have cow's milk products.
I had already read the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, which I really enjoyed. They are both set in Afghanistan. They are not cheerful happy stories, but are thought provoking, interesting, educational and a gripping book. The book follows the lives of 2 women, Marium and Laila. The book starts with the childhood of Marium. She lives with her mother and is desparate to be accepted by her Father, but is not accepted by him. Her mother commits suicide and Marium blames herself for this. After this she is accepted by her Fathers family, but is forced to marry at 15 years old, to Rasheed. The book follows Marium later in her married live, showing how she is treated unfairly by her husband. The book then looks at Laila growing up surrounded by war and death. She falls in love with Tariq but they are separated. She is then married to Rasheed and the book follows the lives of both women. The story is both sad and very moving. I was gripped by the story but found it an interesting way of learning about history and culture.
This was the first book that I read of Bill Brysons. One of my friends recommended his books. She really enjoyed him and found him very funny. On reflection, I enjoyed this book, but I do not think I would read any of his other books. What I most enjoyed about this book was reading about ciities and places that I had visited or would like to visit after reading about them. (After reading about Salisbury, I would love to book a visit there) I do not think that I would enjoy a book based on Europe or America. I found the book slightly funny in places, but not as funny as I thought I would. I had heard so many people say that Bill Bryson was really funny, I was expecting more humour. Bill moved to the UK with his family and he was returning to America. This trip was a final farewell to the UK before he left. He sails into Dover and then travels around the country, normally using public transport and staying in B&Bs. Some of his comments on the English habits and ways of life are interesting and thought provoking. I think a lot of people do not take the chance to see their own country, and so quickly travel abroad on holiday. This book does give you a flavour for cities and places around the UK. Bill writes in a colloqial and easy style of read. He writes what he is thinking and it is very easy to read. I did find it a bit slow in places.
I have just finished reading The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern and really enjoyed it. I loved her first book - PS I Love You, but was slightly disappointed with the other books she has written since. But this one was great. The story is about a girl, Tamara Goodwin who loses her Father and moves to her Aunt and Uncles with her grieving Mother. She is taken from the environment she grew up in and is cut off with not much to do, in a gatehouse in Kilsaney Castle. She meets a a few new friends and finds a leather bound book in a traveling library that changes her life. She looks back at her teenage years and regrets the way she treated her Father. I love the style of Cecelia's writing and I couldn't put the book down. She really draws you in. She writes mystical and magical plots well and the storylines are normally very good. This book has many twists and turns and I was gripped with the ending. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of reading it, and I love Cecelia Ahern as a writer. ISBN: 978-0-00-723370-0 Amazon current price £8.99.
I chose to spend some of my birthday vouchers on this film, that I thought me and my husband would enjoy watching. Being written and directed by Ricky Gervais I thought it would be really funny. I was disappointed overall with the film. There were a couple of laughs, but I wouldn't describe the whole film as a "hilarious comedy" as it is described on the case. It had a storng romantic storyline with a fairly predictable ending. It was interesting thinking and seeing in the film how we would all go around our lives, without lying. and telling people exactly what we think. The story line is centered around Mark (Gervais) who is an unemployed sad and lonely man. The film highlights the fact that he is short and fat and the love story shows how Anna (Jennifer Garner) sees past this. Mark finds out one day that he is able to lie, and tells his dying mother that there is a beautiful heaven with a mansion for everyone and you meet all your friends and family who have passed away. This all spins out of control because no one else is able to lie and sees what he says at face value. We thought it would be a funnier film, and the storyline wasn't the best. I enjoyed Ghost Town but would not recommend this.
I have enjoyed a lot of Richard and Judy book club books, and this was one that I had on my shelf for a while. It has also won a prize for Galazy British Book awards in 2008. I found this book quite slow and boring, and stopped reading it after getting about half way. It is about a group of people working in an advertising company, during a time of redundancies. There are some parts that are a bit funny, but I found that the story was not going anywhere and it did not keep my attention. Normally I finish books, but I really struggled with this one. He did portray the life of office workers well, but it needed to have more to the storylines to keep my attention. I have worked in an office environment for over 10 years, and Joshua Ferris did comment or use things that I can recognise from this environment. But I prefer a book to be a bit deeper and something that I cannot put down and enjoy reading. The language was well written and I enjoyed the style of writing. I normally read a wide selection of books and I'm normally impressed with the Richard and Judy book club ones, but I would not recommend this book to others. It has won awards and some other people may enjoy it, but personally I did not enjoy this book at all.
A friend recommended that we watch Michael McIntyre. My husband loves comedians like Billy Connelly, but I often find them swearing for no particular reason and overall a bit offensive (which I understand some comedians are). The thing I love about Michael McIntyre is he hardly swears and he often talks about everyday situations. We watched this DVD and we were in hysterics. I haven't laughed so much in a long time. He talks about the tiny glasses in buffet meals, the man drawer where batteries and odds and edds are kept, and how his son is growing up and learning to speak. I don't want to say too much, incase I spoil it for others. He comes across as quite camp and he plays on this fact, although he is married with children. He uses this to his advantage and the way he acts and brings across his comedy is so funny. You can buy it from Amazon, new for £8.97. You may be able to get it cheaper on ebay, either for a new or used copy. I'm looking forward to watching his most recent DVD that came out before Christmas.