Book Review: Dance to the Piper (Nora Roberts)

dance to the piper

O’Hurleys #2

Plot:

They both knew what would happen….

She moved in perfect harmony to the music that ruled her life both onstage and off. He dealt with the world with ruthless expertise. Music was his business and he was all business. That is until she lit up the stage.

The attraction was instant…and impossible.

Because he ruled his empire from glass towers high above the vibrancy of her world, and coming too close to hers was risky business. But she was a woman who dared to dream, and she had dreams big enough for them both.

Rating: 5.5/10

Running as the most improbable book in the series, I couldn’t help but wonder what made NR choose her two leading characters’ professions. Hooking up a Broadway dancer and a CEO of a massive company seems like a romance headed to the divorce attorneys. I enjoyed Maddy as a character – so VICACIOUS, but her romance to what’s his name was so unrealistic. The book was fun, but SO improbable. For reals.

Blindspot 2016: Home Alone (1990)

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Plot: An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

Rating: 6/10

Can you please give me a shout-out if you only saw this movie as an adult and actually liked it? Because I just watched it in a stint to catch up on outstanding things, and let me tell you, this is really not my type of movie.

The parents are horrible. Who the hell forgets their eight year old child at home? I don’t care HOW many kids you have with you, you count them YOURSELF. Taking the word of a teenage girl is always a slightly questionable move, and when you trust her about her siblings and cousins you are asking for a disaster. The mom and dad are terrible. They ignore their child and hate him till he is missing.

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Kevin is a terrible child. He is obviously a little punk in the making and needs time out. Preferably always. #reasonsWhyIDontLikeKids

His siblings – can someone just please all load them up with personality and manners? It’s missing.

Those thieves. Wow. I just don’t know.

The laughs and jokes are obviously cheap laughs for children. Skidding everywhere and falling all over the place is maybe funny for one scene and then never again.

Anyway, the best part about this film is the carols in the church being sung – it always sounds so perfect with snow and fairy lights. The little old man story arc was also very sweet.

I obviously didn’t like it all that much. But I’m glad I finally saw this!

Trailers worth Discussion: Round 1

Happy Friday!

So, I’m titling this little series as Trailers worth Discussion. Basically I am going to put up the latest trailers and say what I think of them, my excitement levels and if I think it will be a success or not. Yep, my highly patented opinion. Let me know YOUR opinion on these below!

Trailer 1: Me Before You, starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke

What I think: So I’ve ordered the book – this trailer seems like someone is going to die. I just want to know before I head into the cinema. I can handle a death, I just need to know. Terrible, hey? I am also really interested to see Emilia Clarke as something other than the mother of dragons, because that particular show will not see my patronage anytime soon.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I do think so. Strong romantic dramas tend to do quite well for dates, and really hope both Claflin and Clarke get a chance to break out of the roles they are now very well known for.

Trailer 2: Suicide Squad Trailer #2

What I think: After the colossal (okay, not quite that bad) failure of Batman vs. Superman, DC must really work it to convince me to be interested. This trailer looks interesting, but I’m not all that sure I can invest in going to the movies for this.

Excitement levels: 2/5

Will it be a success? Likely, since the world isn’t tired of superheroes. yet.

Trailer 3: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

What I think: I’m reading the entire Harry Potter series again. I wish the magic could live on forever. I am not convinced that it can. It is sad, but I think continuing this series is a terrible idea. What is perfect should remain perfect.

Excitement levels: 1.5/5

Will it be a success? Yes, because the pseudo Potter fans weren’t raised on the books and don’t get the original magic quite that well. But I might still be impressed. I just don’t get why they must take it to America. Stupid.

Trailer 4: Doctor Strange

What I think: It seems like this is a role for which Benedict Cumberbatch was born for.

Excitement levels: 4/5

Will it be a success? I don’t know if the movie will work, I have no knowledge of the material. I do think it will be a success, because, Marvel.

Let me know what you think about these upcoming movies!!

Book Review: The Last Honest Woman (Nora Roberts)

LAst honest woman

O’Hurleys #1

Plot:

When journalist Dylan Crosby starts digging up the past for the book he’s writing about her infamous late husband, Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell is determined that she will do everything possible to keep the family’s secrets under lock and key.’ to ‘The truth could not be told. Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell was a desperate woman. Journalist Dylan Crosby was going to start digging up her past for the book he was writing about her infamous late husband. It was just research to him, but to her it was a painful reality that had to be kept under lock and key for the sake of her children. Abby would do anything to keep their world safe – no matter how compelling Dylan’s promises might be…. What was she hiding? When Dylan Crosby came to grill Abigail O’Hurley Rockwell about her famous late husband, he expected cool white mink, icy diamonds. What he got was dusty dungarees and womanly warmth. Why would socialite Abby pretend to be a hardworking country mom? Worse, why did he believe her loving lies?

Rating: 6/10

The Last Honest Woman was a recommendation by a family member, one who knows that I read a lot of Nora Roberts but that there is little time to pay all her titles attention. I can say that I enjoyed TLHW, but that it was flawed in multiple aspects. Let’s start with how the man always suspects that the woman is lying. It is unlikely that someone can lie all the time. Who has time for that?! Dylan thinks Abby is a bimbo brained brat from the start and only when he starts having desires he is willing to consider that she is not anything like his initial impression. SIGH. No wonder the women of the 80’s and 90’s took so long to tell men where to stuff it if they can’t learn how to treat a lady properly. Anyway.

The book had a sweet element to it. I even enjoyed the children characters, which is quite rare. O thought Abby was a bit one dimensional but she was not insufferable. It is clear throughout that her first husband was a spineless coward. I enjoyed the whole O’Hurley set-up. Most of the family were entertainers and even though Abby completely deviated from what her family thought she would become, she was still well loved.

TLHW is exactly what it advertise – stereotypical romance. Don’t expect more and you will have a great time.

Life Lately – Marching into April 2016

So what’s crackelacking? SO MUCH. If this becomes a long ass post, sorry not sorry, for what will likely be a sensory overdose – both in pictures and ramblings.

First, what a crazy ass month this has been! It’s been weddings, it’s been Unisa, and it’s been traveling.

Here are some snapshots throughout the month, both good and bad quality😀

Wedding #1: Francois and Mariette

I’m not going to upload too many pics of either of the two weddings, because 1) lotsa creeps on the internet 2) couples pay too much money for proper photographers to end up with sub-standard images everywhere, if ya know what I mean.

I introduced Mariette and Francois back in 2013 when it became obvious every time I spoke to one of them that I would think “this is something Francois/Mariette would also say/like”. Well, it worked, and my favorite line ever since have been that I have a 100% success rate with hooking people up. (hehe).

The wedding was beautiful. The bride looked gorgeous and radiant. Every woman should end up looking so beautiful and happy on her wedding day. Her gown suited her perfectly, and her makeup and hair accentuated the dress. The bridesmaids also looked really lovely, as did the groomsmen. Big up to all the brides who choose lovely colors and dress styles for their girls – it is your photos after all, ladies!

Another thing I really loved was the décor – the flowers were all origami, and not real flowers. It looked unique and wonderful, and the colors and intricacy of the set up worked beautifully. It is something that I will always remember.The food was AH MAH GASH delicious – real Boerekos and tasty as hell. YUM!! My only wish was that their music was a bit better carried out – they didn’t get a real DJ and I think it is the one thing other than a photographer that you really should invest in.

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Wedding Favors

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Me and my little sister

 

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Wedding #2: Zoë and Ricky

I’m sure my bestie is going to put up spans of pics on her site when she has them from her photographer, so I will just tell you how absolutely beautiful everything was. I know I’m a bit biased but trust me, the bride was magazine worthy, the décor was on point and the food was delicious. If I might say so myself, the bridesmaids looked awesome (I was MOH hehehe) and the groom and groomsmen also looked stylish. Thanks for being the most relaxed bride bestie, you were absolutely awesome and I promise that I will continue the tradition when I marry😀😀

The Sudwala Caves – Hazyview, South-Africa

I have this small travel project right now that is working nicely for me – I want to visit a new destination within South-Africa every year. It can be small town – that includes the quirk

We were in Hazyview for Zoë’s wedding, and took the time on the drive back to visit the Sudwala Caves. What. An. Experience. It was one of those moments where I felt so human – tiny and powerless. It is an amazing feeling to feel. The history of the caves was an education to listen to, excellently told by our tour guide. The only negative feedback what I had about the visit there was the restaurant we had lunch at – there wasn’t ice cream for milkshakes, they didn’t have ginger beer, they didn’t have avocados for their burgers (in Mpumalanga, i.e. AVOCADO CAPITAL OF THE GALAXY), etc., etc. I honestly got a bit cranky and by the time they tried to bring my sister chicken schnitzel rather than the chicken burger she ordered, we were all up to our ears with irritation by then. However, the caves are certainly worth the visit, and there are some eating places close to the entrance of the caves that will probably have everything they advertise in stock.

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Upcoming wedding and the bachelorette that was attached to it

The weekend I had two weeks ago was one of those weekends where I would usually look at the person and wonder if they honestly think I believe what they are telling me.

We went and checked out some places because we want to move. I absolutely hate where I’m living right now, and the only thing that keeps me going is the thought that atleast I have somewhere to stay (so many people don’t) and that I will move soon. We saw a stunning place that is definitely what we want, but we first need to sell where we live, and there are some ties that needs to be sorted soon – coming up some time in the future is a post where the South-African government makes dealing with a deceased persons’ estate more traumatic than the death you had to live through.

The bachelorette was a lot of fun. The kitchen tea was awkward – imagine the mother of the bride telling her child that all marriages end in divorce and why even bother. Yep, it was awkward. We fled the scene quickly, because NO bride needs to hear that from her mother three weeks before she marries.

The bachelorette was… entertaining. The people were actually a blast, and you can’t always guarantee that with strangers. We went to Movida, a pretty swanky club. Fantastic. We went in a limo, which was also legit, especially when it broke down three o’clock on a Sunday morning on the Modderfontein exit in Johannesburg. Let’s just say that is not the place where you want to be on a Sunday morning where every responsible person you know is either 1) drunk and in the limo with you or 2) drunk and on the bachelor’s two hours away from Johannesburg. It was real, let me tell you that.

After this illuminating event, imagine my amusement at finding my house flooded when I got home. A pipe had burst, lifting my laminated wood floors and drenching the entire place. It was real, let me tell you that. Bless the company that rented water pumps out and was open on a Sunday afternoon, because at that time my amusement had thoroughly evaporated, very unlike all the water on my floors.

Blog

Not much really, I was too busy the last couple of weeks to really commit to blogging. I’ve missed it so I am hopefully back with a full schedule this week.

I have finally caught up with my Blindspotsand am now only due again this month, so I feel very much accomplished over that.

January – Kill Bill Volume I

February – Kill Bill Volume II

March – Love Actually

Diet:

In real-life terms that focuses on maintaining a lifestyle, my new eating habits are going well. A few hiccups here and there, but I am eating like a well-balanced human rather than someone who is eating their feelings rather than dealing with them. I haven’t had Coke since the 4th of Jan 2016 – down from 500 ml bottle a day. I am pretty proud of myself, and it is the one place where I draw a hard line. I need to sort out a gym contract, because the sad fact remains that although I will lose weight eating healthily, I will not lose it at the pace that I would while exercising properly too.

Things that annoy me currently:

The fact that basic connectivity in South-Africa is impossible to achieve.

People talking about money. Constantly. Just. Stop.

The fact that I use the word “actually” so much. My vocabulary ACTUALLY needs an upgrade. I proofread this a few times, but I’m sure that there are still some “actuallys” sneaking around.

Work. The people at work. The fact that I need employment to have money.

Anyhow, that is it from me. I have so much more that I want to ramble on about, but I’m stopping here. What have you been up to lately?

The Help (2011) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

I blogged over at T9M’s site for her IMDb Top 250 challenge… Read, enjoy. Thanks for letting me take part!

Cinema Parrot Disco

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Natasha of Life Of This City Girl. Thanks for the review, Natasha!:-) Now let’s see what she thought of The Help, IMDB rank 234 out of 250…

There are another 15 movies available if anyone wants to do a guest review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Movie Review: The Help (2011)

Plot: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and…

View original post 738 more words

#100HappyDays: Day 93 – 100.. DONE!!

frodo-its-done

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!

I MADE IT THROUGH THIS CHALLENGE!

I didn’t think I would, really I didn’t. I have this… ability… to not finish things. And some days are just so crap that it feels so inauthentic to post a picture about what makes you happy. However, it was a really nice challenge and it does teach you to see something good in the day. Here are my last few days.. hope you enjoy!

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Day 93:

We are having regional elections this year in South-Africa. I don’t think we’ve ever needed an election more. This country’s parliament is in shambles, and I think that we are in a dangerous place right now. The past weekend we all went to check that we are indeed registered to vote – because it really is true that if you don’t vote you can’t complain. (Note: America, please don’t make Trump your President)

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Day 94:

Reading my favorite series with my favorite soft drink (Coke Light has replaced its evil older brother in my life), and it was a great night.

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Day 95:

A wild moment of determination, and I am a member of a gym again! SO PROUD!

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Day 96:

I think this is my favorite pic I’ve taken in this challenge. The food was delicious too.

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Day 97:

Going to the gym is really exhausting right now. Wait, I think that is a good thing.

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Day 98:

I contradicted an entire week of healthy eating by this meal, but it was so nice. It seems kind of illegal to post pics like these currently. Anyway, it was delicious.

Movie Review: The Princess Bride (1987)

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Plot: An elderly man reads the book “The Princess Bride” to his sick and thus currently bedridden adolescent grandson, the reading of the book which has been passed down within the family for generations. The grandson is sure he won’t like the story, with a romance at its core, he preferring something with lots of action and “no kissing”. But the grandson is powerless to stop his grandfather, whose feelings he doesn’t want to hurt. The story centers on Buttercup, a former farm girl who has been chosen as the princess bride to Prince Humperdinck of Florian. Buttercup does not love him, she who still laments the death of her one true love, Westley, five years ago. Westley was a hired hand on the farm, his stock answer of “as you wish” to any request she made of him which she came to understand was his way of saying that he loved her. But Westley went away to sea, only to be killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts. On a horse ride to clear her mind of her upcoming predicament of marriage, Buttercup…

 

Life lessons and things I loved about this movie:

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“As you wish” is just another way of saying “I love you”

The big guy can be the sweetest guy.

Inigo

Mandi Patinkin has been epic his entire life.

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The mustache.Most epic thing of this epic movie.

The mask that really doesn’t hide anyone’s identity

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The banter and quick witted/silly conversations.

Robin Wright (Penn) has been incredibly beautiful all her life. Seeing her so young and fresh is a beautiful thing.

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“Inconceivable”

Old movies are the best.

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Love will find a way

Rating: 9/10

The Princess Bride is now one of my favorite movies. It is strange and fun and really funny. It gets to be sickeningly sweet without being offensive. It is such a lovely film and has so many great, quotable moments in it. I’ve been recommending it more than I recommended Eleanor and Park to people, which is really impressive. Go watch it if you haven’t seen it yet, and if you have, do so again!

Book Review: Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Big magic book cover

Rating: 8/10

It is no secret that I am a massive fan of Elizabeth Gilbert. The woman has penned Eat Pray Love, and even though there really is a fantastic amount of injured white privilege to experience reading it, it is also a shining example of what an excellent author can write and deep emotional growth.

Self-help books irk me. I’m even at the point where I shun religious assistance books – if you are Christian, read the Bible, not ten other books (just my opinion there). The same goes for other religions and a variety of ailments – dieting books, depression assistance, divorce material – why are you reading this garbage? I find it so preposterous that we waste out time reading material where the author tries to tell you what’s wrong with you as a person – they don’t know you, how can they diagnose you?

Now that that cat is out of the bag, I don’t feel that Liz Gilbert is a self-help author, and bless her for it. Her books are all based on her personal experiences and growth, and it comes across in a “hey, this is me, maybe you feel like this too” scenario, and that is something that I can work with.

What I enjoyed the most about this book is the idea that ideas float around as a separate entity waiting to be captured by a willing mind. I was stuck on this for days! The other thing I really loved is that creativity should not be associated with suffering, because it was never meant that way.

Basically, this is what the book made me feel:

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It is positive, thought provoking, well written and a book that she obviously spent time thinking about. I would recommend it to people who would like to read something that can activate creative thinking and a change in perspective.

Have you read Big Magic? What did you think?

Movie Review: Trainwreck (2015)

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Plot: Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.

So let’s start this off by me saying that Trainwreck is not what the hype suggests. I’m pretty sure it went straight to DVD in SA, but I saw a bunch of people liking it and thought it was worth the try. It really isn’t a bad film, but it is funny almost by accident. For the life of me I cannot understand the hype around Amy Schumer. For a comedian she could be worse but as an actress she is downright terrible. I don’t get why people are saying that this movie is “So Real”. The movie is really about a terrible woman who needs to grow up. Movie Amy is mean spirited and cold to everyone. The movie is inappropriate, racist, homophobic and not really funny about it.

I do think that Bill Hader is the best thing about Trainwreck. Can we please see him in more movies? I would really love that. His character seems so genuine and just a normal and successful guy, worthy of love but terrible at choosing partners.

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The movie has all these characters that are either terrible stereotypes or underdeveloped – Tilda Swinton is underutilized, that best friend girl of Amy is just there to be annoying and how did LeBron James find himself in a movie? I really have no idea.

Trainwreck isn’t all that bad though. There are some scenes where I genuinely did laugh, even if it was in a moment of weakness for some terrible humor. As mentioned, I really enjoyed Bill Hader and even thought that John Cena had some gems in here – poor guy and terrible stereotype, but sweet regardless. The romantic tone of the movie is sweet but unfortunately often marred by unnecessary sexual jokes and scenes.

Definitely not worth the hype, a bit too long, very underutilized characters and not really the social commentary or testimony to Amy Schumer’s greatness that I’ve heard. You could do worse, but you can definitely do better as well.