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Bones Never Lie: (Temperance Brennan 17)
Bones Never Lie: (Temperance Brennan 17)
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody does it better !, 6 Dec 2014
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Another brilliant thriller, by the best of best. Kathy Reichs is incapable of writing a bad, or boring book.

Tempe is back, thank goodness, and about to be thrown together again with the luscious Andrew Ryan.

The novel begins with the anthropologist being called into an unexpected meeting, which calls on her to dig up old witnesses and investigations.
She soon realises that this particular case will bring back disturbing memories and also bickering detective Slidell back into her life, along with a local federal agent for him to argue with. This adds to the peripheral characters development, as well the stories evolution.
In this unexpected meeting, Tempe is called upon to go and look for Ryan, and it is made clear, that the powers that be would like her to bring him back, to investigate the case which they both worked previously.
Therefore, she heads south to Costa Rica, to find a bereaved and desolate Ryan reeling from the recent death of his daughter, however it's not long before they pair are headed north to Charlotte, where they resume their investigation, which further leads to a trip to the lovely Montreal.
This is another fantastic read which will have fans sitting on the edge of their seats, turning the pages as fast as they can to find out who did it, and to find out what is next for Tempe and Ryan's relationship.
As a stand alone novel this book is a fantastic read, but for fans of the series this is pure gold, and will leave readers desperate for the next adventure.
The author shows no signs of tiring, and the series just gets better and better IMHO.

I tried to draw it out as long as I could, as I didn't want it to be over. Unfortunately my urge to find out who did it, and what happens next, over took my ability to be able to read a few pages at a time. So I finished it, and now feel desperate for the next instalment.
I literally can't wait for it.


Ms America and the Mayhem in Miami (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 3)
Ms America and the Mayhem in Miami (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 3)
Price: £2.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, mayhem in Miami, 15 Nov 2014
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I loved the offing in Oahu, liked the villainy in Vegas, but I regret to say 'mayhem in Miami' was just ok.

Here we find Happy, the recent winner of the Miss America competition, judging a teen competition in Miami where she is reunited with her friends and fellow show queens, Trixie and Shanelle, and also Mario, the man she has a secret crush on. She is also accompanied by her daughter and father, and briefly her husband.
I have to say sadly I was very disappointed by this episode, as I had hoped Happy's family members would add another dimension to the story, but ultimately for me they didn't. They felt very much like an attempt to add depth to the storyline and further understanding of the lead character but it didn't work for me, and I didn't feel like I had learned anything about Happy's home life.
Her husband was definitely one dimensional, and he really seemed to be more like a trophy than a spouse, as he was elevated to the position of a calendar cover boy.
None of the above was really the problem for me though. It took me months to read this, as I kept putting it down through lack of interest.
There is nothing essentially wrong with this book, but it never took hold of my imagination.
The story seemed to revolve round the same characters, and the constant reference to the same suspects, and what the girls were wearing, and where Mario's daughter and ex were, just irritated me.
I did get confused regarding who some of the peripheral characters were, and their involvement with the murder victim, I just carried on intermittently to find out who did it. However, having stopped and started so many times I couldn't remember the character really, so it made no difference to me.
I think the story could have been shorter, it would have been easier to follow.
Having said that, I am sure that anyone who has read the first two in this series, will also enjoy this as a very light read.


Three Ballerinas - A Celebration Of The Lives Of Three Remarkable Australian Dancers
Three Ballerinas - A Celebration Of The Lives Of Three Remarkable Australian Dancers
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars A little insight into the world of a principal ballerina, 13 Oct 2014
A lovely little film, short but sweet.

Just under an hour is long enough to gain a significant insight into the lives of Lucette Aldous, Marilyn Rowe and Marilyn Jones, all of whom were principal dancers in the Australian ballet company in the 1970s.
This film is an overview featuring significant moments in the dancer's careers.

The openness of each of the ballerinas was striking especially when discussing the toll their career took on their bodies. They were very honest when talking about how tiring the endless rehearsals were and how they really felt sometimes.

There was a really nice piece regarding Rudolf Nureyev, and the time he spent working the Australian ballet. One of the ballerinas recalls that she was dancing alongside the legend he would whisper remarks about the corp de ballet etc.
I particularly enjoyed this because I have never seen him dance and it brought a more human side to dancers who seem super human sometimes. There is a lot of footage of the dancers and their experiences with late Rudolf Nureyev, which was lovely to watch.

The piece wasn't entirely reflective in tone and showed the former principals coaching todays prospective dancers and this was an interesting comparison

For real ballet fans than someone with just a passing interest in the profession. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this.


Wayne McGregor - Chroma / Infra / Limen
Wayne McGregor - Chroma / Infra / Limen
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Curious, Interesting and Lively, 4 Sep 2014
This is a DVD of the Royal Ballet's resident choreographer Wayne McGregor's modernistic triple bill. This is a very beautifully filmed show and speaking as someone who has sat many times in the Opera house this is the best view of the dancers I have ever had. However, be warned if you are a balletmane as I would now describe myself, there is never a real substitute for a live performance.

These ballets are very contemporary in design and, they appear to employ minimal use of styling in terms of stage design and costumes. The dancers are featured wearing what looks like their underwear for the entirety of their performances. This is not to say that a huge amount of creative input wasn't used to create the concepts, it is just
I personally found it lacking in visual stimulation in that particular area.

Chroma was my least favourite of the three. From outset as we view the first dancer suddenly slant their body downwards and then up again and each dancer continue these kind of edgy and again IMHO volatile movements with dancers appearing in the spotlight and projected almost back into darkness or off stage. At times I can only describe the pas de deuxs and solos as aggressive and unhappy looking. For me there was little actual expression and I was at a loss to understand what I was watching.

In comparison the middle ballet Infra felt slightly more distinguishable and on viewing this live I would go as far as to say I enjoyed it. On DVD it interested me. It did feel like I was viewing something that did have some kind of social comment in terms of sequences where dancers were portrayed as distressed but ignored by those around them in a segregated and uninterested society. This was just my interpretation of what I was seeing and I am sure each viewer will interpret differently.

The final ballet I found had the most momentum and it's conclusion was the most stimulating. I really appreciate Mr McGregor's use of so many of the RB's top dancers and to see so many on stage at once and interacting was very interesting. The final sequence of Limen where we have many couples lined up dancing their pas de deux's in parallel
pieces was exciting to watch and I felt spoilt for choice with regard to who to pay the most attention to.

On film for me Lauren Cuthbertson gave a stand out performance with her emotive portrayal of a what seemed an ignored and emotionally lost individual who is finally able to stop the zombie like flow of people around her by interacting with another individual.
I also particularly enjoyed Ricardo Cervera's performance, but the entirety of the bill was superb, and faultless in technique and continuity. This is for anyone with an interest in ballet and a love of the Royal Ballet in particular. This is another example of why this company are at the top of their profession and why they are always worth watching.


Swan Lake - Royal Swedish Ballet
Swan Lake - Royal Swedish Ballet
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Iconic Swan Lake, 31 Aug 2014
This is a lovely interpretation of the classic ballet. If you love Swan Lake you can't go wrong watching this.

Unfortunately I had not checked the date of the performance, and while watching I realised I was watching quite a dated looking ballet.
I just mean in terms of the production values I realised on viewing quite quickly that this wasn't a recent filming. However, the two leads were very beautifully carried out and this was overall a convincing performance by the very talented and lovely Royal Swedish Ballet.

I felt this was quite a straight forward look at the story with regard to timing and no frills sets, however, Nathalie Nordquist and Anders Nordstrom were convincing dramatically speaking as the Swan Queen and Prince Seigfried.

I particularly enjoyed the extras on this dvd, which included interviews with Peter Wright and the company's AD at the time and also the lead dancers themselves who were so adorable. I think I would be giving this review five stars if it had been about the dancers rehearsing the ballet, and discussing their roles instead of the ballet itself. That is just a reflection of my interest in what it takes to be a ballet dancer, rather than a reflection of the quality of the dancing.

The corp de ballet was fantastic and the final scene with Odette throwing herself in the lake followed by the Prince followed by the remaining swans turning on Rothbart always makes this ballet one of, if not the most iconic of all.

The music alone makes it a must see experience for anyone interested in dance, because by Act III the Tchaikovsky score is literally telling the story alone, by building the momentum of the doomed lovers to their dramatic finality. At the end of Act III you almost don't need to look at the stage because the music is so emotive and overwhelming you can feel as much as you can see what is happening.

I wish I had seen this sooner as company members change a lot because such is the briefness of dancers career, and would love to see anything else performed by the Royal Swedish Ballet, and would definitely take the opportunity to go to Sweden and see them first hand if I could. Will be keeping a look out for any future visits by this great company to London.


La Danse - The Paris Ballet Opera
La Danse - The Paris Ballet Opera
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and insightful, 11 Aug 2014
This is an interesting and insightful glimpse into the daily lives of the people who are dedicated to making a working ballet company successful.

I saw my first ballet two years ago as an adult in middle years and fell in love with it completely. I don't understand ballet and do sit wondering often why the dancers are doing what are they are doing. Which is what lead me to this documentary.
I have sat in amazement many times and wondered what leads someone to embark on such a arduous, and for a lot of dancers frustrating career, in terms of lack of promotion and pay, but I admire them even more for it.

I loved watching in one scene a Principle dancer discussing with the artistic director why she felt her schedule was too full to play a certain part, she said she felt at her age it was too much to take on. That was very interesting in comparison to rumours that in other top ballet companies dancers are vying for the chance to dance more top roles because they are not being given enough of such opportunities.

I was equally fascinated to watch dancers being coached, and see how they dealt with repetition of such exercises and the way they have to deal with working through the exhaustion of doing so.

Overall I found this film insightful and didn't notice once how long it took to play. I am a ballet lover but if I had just come across this on tv I think I would have found it still a great chance to look inside a world I have no knowledge of and enjoy watching other people living very different working lives from mine.


Grand Depart
Grand Depart
Dvd
Offered by Lovefilm UK Limited
Price: £0.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C'est la vie, 6 Aug 2014
This review is from: Grand Depart (DVD)
This was a lovely film, and a real surprise. This is a tale of very real people, dealing with everyday problems and finding their solutions through their family, and their understanding, that whatever happens around them, life goes on inevitably.

The story is centred around the incredibly handsome Romain, who is a single work obsessed thirtysomething.
Not too long into the films plotline, Romain's father is diagnosed with a neurologically degenerative illness and he is then left along with his brother Luc, to care for their elderly parent. The storyline then follows as the siblings as they play out their various family issues, and struggle for their father's attention, as we are told in flashback, they did as children.
Ultimately the brothers find they can't cope alone and need help, and it is this revelation that leads to various disagreements, and mad moments between them and the other people in Romain's life.

I didn't expect anything from this film, but was very pleasantly surprised to find a warm, thoughtful and slightly unusual in tone, piece. I couldn't help wondering if this had been made in the UK, or the USA, if the central protagonist would then have been female. If so, it is likely this film would then have ultimately ended up being a rom com, with the fathers plight as a subplot, or a darker more depressing scenario altogether.

However, I am pleased to say this was neither. There was levity and pathos, and most interestingly for me, was the decision to set the story around the life of a young and very attractive man, struggling with a hiatus, regarding the trajectory of his life. I think that this in particular gave the film an edge, because it was interesting looking at the situation through the eyes of a young man, rather than the habitual sister or daughter being left to care for an elderly and unwell relative. With the inevitability being that she would then have any thoughts of marriage curtailed, or have to settle for less of a life.

Even more interestingly Romain is portrayed as broody, he says he wants to marry, but seems to struggle with social situations and flirting with women. Looking at the lead actor it is hard to believe Romain would ever have had any trouble meeting someone, but it was easy to suspend belief, because the part was so well acted, and with so much feeling that it didn't matter.
Although a lot of the subject matter of this movie is not necessarily light, there are various adult themes, although I never felt depressed by then, and that is a credit to the upbeat direction of the film.

This was a charming story, especially so for the examination of the relationships between Romain and his father, and also his brother, which were heartfelt and very touching at times. This film is one I definitely hope to revisit again in the future.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 27, 2014 10:05 PM BST


Ms America and the Villainy in Vegas (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 2)
Ms America and the Villainy in Vegas (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 2)
Price: £2.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ms America and what happened in Vegas ?, 30 May 2014
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I enjoyed this novel, maybe a little less than the first in the series, but it was a light and fun read.

Here we meet Happy Pennington again, who is in Las Vegas to attend Ms America colleague, Sally Anne's wedding. However, the proceedings are swiftly curtailed when the best man is murdered. Happy is eager to investigate and has her mother and her friend and former room mate Shanelle, to assist in her search for the killer They also rope in Trixie another beauty queen and cross paths with Emcee Mario, who Happy has a crush on, as well as the Queens carrying out Ms America duties as dancers.

This is the second novel in the Ms America sleuthing series, the first was set on Oahu, where Ms Ohio won the the national competition and solved the murder to boot. It is a clever concept giving the author license to talk about the girls outfits, and beauty tips, without it seeming vacuous, because these details are relevant to the plot.

I did enjoy the quirky amateur detecting of Ms America and her comrades, but for some reason I just didn't feel as involved as I did with the previous outing. I don't know if it just seemed a little too familiar, with the formula in place of the evening cocktail, the sneaking around first thing in the morning in the same clothes and Mr Pennington's only role being to continue to fret over his wife's investigator aspirations. I was hoping that Jason would see the dodgy video taken of his wife with Hans Finkelmeister and that they might then argue and this would provide romantic intrigue, and maybe push Happy temporarily in the direction of Mario.

The characters who formed the peripheral cast were varied, and I liked the descriptions of the different hotels not having visited the city myself.
The red herrings were also well placed and I really didn't know who did it until the murdered was revealed. I did feel that some of the characters were revisited too frequently such as Cassidy and her criminal activities, but I liked some of the madder people such as Brandon, Samantha St James and Hans Finkelmeister.

Overall, this is a pleasant read, it is definitely worth taking to the beach, but personally Vegas's neon didn't sparkle the way the perfect glint of the surf on Waikiki beach did for me.


Ms America and the Offing on Oahu (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 1)
Ms America and the Offing on Oahu (Beauty Queen Mysteries Book 1)
Price: £0.77

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Miss America is definitely not off in Oahu, 16 May 2014
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I really liked this book. It cost nothing, but I would have happily purchased this for the same amount as the others.

I am biased as Hawaii is my favourite place on Earth, and I remember Oahu vividly. However, this story stands on it's own, I have previously read 'Falling Star' by the same author, which I liked equally, but for different reasons.

This is the first in a series, and we join Happy Pennington (Miss Ohio) as she bids to become Miss America, the fairest of them all.
Unfortunately while waiting to make her final appearance at the contest, she finds herself in a sound proof booth with another contestant who is not very nice. Then to make matters worse the aforesaid contestant is found dead. As Happy was the last person to see Tiffany Amber alive, she decides to investigate to clear her name as the police have placed her name high on the list of suspects. Much light hearted investigations ensues coupled with a lot of girl talk.

This is a light read but still a page turner, it is fun following Happy, her room mate Shanelle and her mother as they go about their business on Oahu. I particularly enjoyed the nightly torch lighting by the lovely Hawaiian man, and the girls cocktail hour.

This was very easy read and I am now half way through the second adventure set in Las Vegas. Downloading this book can only be a good thing, and I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this.


Body & Soul
Body & Soul
Price: £0.77

3.0 out of 5 stars Body of soulful work, 9 May 2014
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This review is from: Body & Soul (Kindle Edition)
I have now read three of Sheila Norton's books, and this is the one I have least enjoyed. It is an ok read, but it just wasn't what I expected from the authors usual no nonsense style.

Having worked in hospital for several years I just couldn't buy into the concept of all these doctors suddenly being interested in this middle aged receptionist. Especially the consultant, and the aussie reg. If it had just been the junior, maybe. In one of the places I worked one of the constant moans for the girls on reception was the dismissive attitude of some of the doctors, who had no idea what their names were, never mind actually speaking to them.

Also, if Rosie had been described the way her colleague Becky was, I would have bought into it more, but I just got irritated by the lack of plausability. As other reviewers have mentioned I did feel the ending was dragged out a little too long.

Overall It was amusing, I liked the descriptions of Rosie's friends and her boss, they were well rounded, but I never really warmed to Rosie herself, and I couldn't see what the fuss was about. Worth reading if you've got a little time on your hands but I am hoping for more 'The Trouble with Ally' type books in the future.


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