Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Fault in our Stars - Book Review

This was a book once again on the list of 14 books to read before Hollywood makes the movie. I am trying to read all the books on this list before I watch the upcoming movies. So far, so good.

The Fault in our Stars is a book narrated by a 16 year old girl with terminal lung cancer. It follows her daily life which includes a dull therapy group, distance education at tertiary level, and the daily struggles to breathe. The book is told so well from 'Hazel's' point of view that it is remarkable that the author is a 36 year old male, John Green. I haven't read any of his other works but after reading this book I am definitely going to seek them out.

I felt this book had a somewhat slow start. I read the first 5/6 chapters over a week just casually picking up the book every now and then. I thought it was going to be a book a struggled through. As a love interest developed with a fellow cancer (although in remission) therapy group member, I became more and more interested in this seemingly tragedy-destined relationship. The book is raw and doesn't gloss over the effects of cancer on Hazel and her friends. It doesn't hide her depression. It somehow has hope hidden amongst it's sometimes depressing themes. By the time I got to the last third of the book I read it all late into the night - desperate to finish it. I had to stop several times, sobbing, to have a tissue break. I am surprised I didn't wake my sleeping husband beside me as I was inconsolable! I would only be able to read half a page before dissolving into sobs again.


This book is an incredible read. Well worth the time and tears. It is a glimpse into a life that seems to have no meaning yet the book gave my life more meaning. Bravo John Green, Bravo!

The movie adaptation is set to be released June 2014 with the lead actress from Divergent (Shailene Woodley) also cast as the lead actress in this movie. I expect that she will be an actress to watch as she is gaining more and more significant roles.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Divergent Trilogy - Book Review

I discovered the Divergent trilogy via a list of 14 books to read before Hollywood makes the movies. I read the first one in a day and then rushed to the store the next morning to purchase the second book and read that in a day as well! I was devastated to discover that the concluding book was not to be released for another 2 months! That day has come however and once again I read the book in a day.

These books move me. Not only are they a thrilling read but they are filled with fascinating characters that are well written and diverse. The heroin 'Tris' is something of a 'Katniss' (Hunger Games) type character. In fact the books are of a similar feel and content - a post-apocalyptic world with a new society order. The fact that the books are written by a young writer makes me more in awe of her talent. Veronica Roth published the first book when she was just 23 years old and the last one just released when she is 25. Wow! Inspires me to put myself out there more!

The society Tris finds herself in is divided into 5 factions based on what the people living in those factions value above all else - Amity (peace), Dauntless (bravery/courage), Erudite (intelligence), Abnegation (selflessness), and Candor (honesty). At the age of 16, each citizen must make a choice of which faction he or she wishes to belong to. This decision is not to be taken lightly as the young person will then leave their family and live with their new faction members if they choose a faction that is not that which they were born into. A simulated test is administered before the young people are given the choice and is meant to help them discover the faction they are most suited to. Tris however discovers that she is suited to 3 different factions which is not the norm and considered dangerous. She is told she must hide her 'divergence' by the test administrator as this could lead to a life-threatening situation for her. When Tris decides to leave the faction she was born into, she finds herself in a new and challenging world.

These books are incredible. I will read them again and again. I can't wait for the movie which looks to be amazing as well although as always I'm sure I will prefer the books.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


We don't know. We just don't know why things happen the way they do.

I am struck today by so many different emotions. It has been a week of up's and down's for so many dear friends of mine. One gave birth to twin girls only for them to both become angels within minutes. Another friend lost her newborn triplets this week. Yet another friend found out happily that she was pregnant. And another friend found out she was pregnant only to now be miscarrying just days later.

Our precious babies. Our little angels now not with us. My heart aches thinking of these families going through tough times. My heart also rejoices with those families who finally have their dreams in sight.

It's hard to know what to say at times like these when you just feel so helpless. The best thing we can do is just be there and be willing to walk to journey with them as long as they want and need you to.

Angel Moms

We have shared our tears and our sorrow,
We have given encouragement to each other,
Given hope for a brighter tomorrow,
We share the title of grieving mother.

Some of us lost older daughters or sons,
Who we watched grow over the years,
Some have lost their babies before their lives begun,
But no matter the age, we cry the same tears.

We understand each others pain,
The bond we share is very strong,
With each other there is no need to explain,
The path we walk is hard and long.

Our children brought us together,
They didn't want us on this journey alone,
They knew we needed each other,
To survive the pain of them being gone.

So take my hand my friend,
We may stumble and fall along the way,
But we'll get up and try again,
Because together we can make it day by day.

We can give each other hope,
We'll create a place where we belong,
Together we will find ways to cope,
Because we are Angel Moms and together we are strong!

Judi Walker

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10 TV shows that ended too soon

I have been re-watching TV shows while all the current ones were on hiatus over the Northern Hemisphere Summer. Several shows that I absolutely love could have continued on for much longer I feel. Here is my top 10 list:

1. Roswell
Roswell to me is my teen years. I loved this show! I have rewatched it's 3 seasons several times and always get so sad when I come to the end. I love seeing the fashion that I used to wear (mini-skirts over pants!)

2. Private Practice
I loved seeing the Grey's Anatomy spinoff that carried on with Dr Montgomery Shepherd. It was great how they did the cross-over episodes between Grey's and Private. Sadly after 6 seasons the show was cancelled. 

3. Firefly
When my husband first brought this DVD set home and told me it was a "Space Western" I laughed. I laughed even harder when I saw the opening credits song. But I sat through it with my hubby and by the end of the final episode (14) I was crying that it was over! Such a great show that didn't even make it to one complete season. Tragedy! Thankfully we got a movie to tie up the loose ends but still...

4. Stargate
Yes, after watching Firefly I became curious about the Sci-Fi world and eventually watched one or two episodes of Stargate with hubby. I loved it so much that I went right back to the first season and binge-watched all 10 seasons in about a month! (I had a newborn who kept me up all night feeding so plenty of midnight hours to watch tv!) Stargate got an impressive 10 season and it had two offshoots - Stargate Atlantis (5 seasons) and Stargate Universe (2 seasons). Both of these shows could be on this list as well but my favourite was definitely the original.

5. Gilmore Girls
This was my bedrest tv show while I was on one month bedrest at the end of my pregnancy. 7 seasons was definitely not enough of this witty show! Lorelai and Rory became people I'd love to know. I could still watch this show over and over and over and over...

6. Better off Ted
This little known comedy was so unique and different. It followed a guy named Ted at his workplace - Veridian Dynamics - where they created bizarre and completely weird products. Hubby and I loved watching this show and especially waited for the funny Veridian Dynamics tv ad in the middle of the episode. Sadly cancelled after just 2 seasons.

7. Eureka
Oh Eureka! Oh Colin Ferguson! Again - Sci-fi. Again - hubby introduced me to it. Note to self - always try the tv shows hubby likes! This was set in a fictious town called Eureka in America. This town housed all the top scientific minds who worked at Global Dynamics - a research facility. From talking A.I. houses to bizarre inventions, this show had it all! It was funny, moving and had you wanting to live there. I had the priviledge to meet lead actor Colin Ferguson at the Perth Comic-Con this year and he was so lovely and down to earth. Waiting in his line took ages because he made sure to have a conversation with each person waiting for his signature rather than a quick sign and "thank you". I got all flushed and speechless as we first caught a glimpse of him near the front of the line causing my hubby to laugh at me. I managed to pull it together though and try to think of something creative to say when it was our turn.

8. Lie to me
I came across this show by accident looking for something to watch when I was bored one day. It follows Dr Cal Lightman who is an applied psychologist - interpreting body language and micro expressions. His firm help the police with solving crimes and also a bit of private investigation. I loved this show and it was really interesting to see the science behind it.

9. Happy Endings
This funny almost "friends" style sitcom is something I've only recently found out has been cancelled. Like Friends, it also follows 6 friends in their late 20's / early 30's in their daily life. Sadly ratings dropped during their 3rd season after a really bad scheduling issue with their time slot in the states and the show was cancelled earlier this year.

10. Chuck
This series followed a "geek" guy working at an electronics store who is accidentally imprinted with top government secrets in his brain. This causes all sorts of mayhem as two secret agents are assigned as his bodyguards, one of whom he falls in love with. I love Zachery Levi and enjoyed this show which was cancelled after 5 seasons.

So there you have it. My top 10. What show would you put on the list??

The Hunger Games Trilogy - Book Review

I have just spent the week reading all three of the Hunger Games books to start off one of my goals on my 30 by 30 list to read 100 books before I'm 30. I have read these books before and seen the first movie (second one is out in Nov 2013).

The first time I read this series I was struck by how sick and twisted the idea is. Sending 24 kids aged 12-18 years old into an arena to fight to the death with one victor. The books are so well written that you can feel what the lead character 'Katniss Everdeen' is feeling. Reading this series for a second time allowed me to really look at the main themes behind the story. War. Poverty. The unfairness of a society that is hungry for entertainment that they will go to any length to satisfy their need. The perversion of a society that can watch children die and then go on to eat their dinner and socialising.

While we don't have the Hunger Games in our world, we do have the news. Whether we want to admit it or not, we do watch children die and then continue on with our day with only a brief moment of thinking "oh how sad and awful!" The wars and genocides that have wracked our planet have been covered on the news which we watch at dinner time. What about those children? Who helped them? Who's helping Syria? What about the child soldiers in Africa? Are they not children being forced to fight to the death?

We can sit around and feel comfortable that the atrocity of children killing other children doesn't exist. Some children and families in this world can not say the same.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Updated 30 by 30...

Just over a year to go until I'm 30!

This is my revised list (including those things I've already completed). Enjoy!

  1. Travel to Cambodia again. COMPLETE!
  2. Sew an evening gown. COMPLETE!
  3. Have another baby. (Up to God with this one) COMPLETE!
  4. Go camping.
  5. Read all of Jane Austin's novels. IN PROGRESS
  6. Travel overseas to a country I haven't been to before.
  7. Go out to dinner and eat dessert before the main meal. COMPLETE!
  8. Make and auction off a quilt for charity.
  9. Get my blog to 10,000 page views.
  10. Sing on stage again.
  11. Take James and Oliver to the snow.
  12. Read 100 books.  25 down - 75 to go!
  13. Give blood. I am terrified of needles. Enough said. COMPLETE!
  14. Read the entire Bible from start to finish. IN PROGRESS
  15. Spend one whole day without talking. Those of you who know me know that this could be a tough one! 
  16. Witness a birth.
  17. Breastfeed - this is dependant on task number 3. COMPLETE!
  18. Learn to Crochet. COMPLETE!
  19. Eat Sushi. My hubby has been trying to persuade me to try it for years but I'm too chicken. hmmm... maybe I'll try the chicken... - COMPLETE!
  20. Surprise hubby with a weekend away somewhere. - COMPLETE!
  21. Climb Jacob's Ladder.
  22. Change a tire by myself.
  23. Set up our Christmas tree with only handmade ornaments I have made on it.
  24. Own a dress makers mannequin. - COMPLETE!
  25. Complete a postage stamp quilt. IN PROGRESS
  26. Watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. Yes I admit it. I've never seen it! COMPLETE!
  27. Watch an All Blacks game live.
  28. Create my own pattern and make a dress.
  29. Holiday trip with friends. - COMPLETE!
  30. Complete 30 acts of kindness during the week of my 30th birthday.
So what do you think of my list? What would you put on yours?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

International Pregnancy and Child Loss Month

We lost our first precious bundle at 9 weeks pregnant. We lost our third baby at 6 weeks. It was a traumatic and horrible experience. Unless you have been there yourself, it is hard to really grasp the depth of feeling and trauma.

This is a song I found written by Pink about her miscarriage. Stay strong everyone.