Showing posts with label drama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drama. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Weird Sisters Book Review

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, A Book Review


Most of us are aware of at least some of the personality traits that come with birth order. The oldest often assumes more responsibility as a child, the middle often feels like they need more attention, the youngest often seems to be more doted upon. The Weird Sisters embraces, among other topics, the topic of birth order as it shares the life of three sisters in small town Barnwell, Ohio.

Eleanor Brown’s first novel's title does not reference weird as you and I might think when we first see the book. As a matter of fact, the sisters are not weird at all.  Brown’s meaning is as in wyrd from old English. Fate or fated. Destined, which sort of suits the book given the presence of William Shakespeare’s books throughout the story line though that difference was not obvious to me when I picked up the book.

The oldest sister in the trio is the stereotypical eldest sibling. She is a reliable, predictable woman who held a caretaker role over her sisters when they were all children and, though now a successful math professor, never left their hometown and never gave up her role as family caretaker.

The middle sister is a woman who wants to impress, throwing herself into everything she does with gusto in an attempt to stand out and be noticed. Sound familiar? She has a successful career in New York City but is fast-living and promiscuous and, underneath all of her expensive veneer, is ashamed of who she has become. Her failed attempts to maintain her lifestyle has her packing her designer goods and heading for home.

The youngest sister, the stereotypical spoiled younger sibling, is a real vagabond. She floats from experience to experience, town to town, job to job and cannot figure out what she wants to do with her life. Events in her world have her grabbing her backpack and heading for home, too.

Their father is a famed Shakespearean professor who cannot keep his head out of a book for a minute and their mom is equally obsessed with and distracted by books. Growing up, the family did not own a television. Instead, reading was their source of entertainment. Everyone in the family embraced the love of books and became avid readers though as adults some of them did not want the world to know that fact. Brown’s interwoven references to and quotes from William Shakespeare are interesting but will not in any way take away from your enjoyment of this book if you are not a fan of his writings.

Coincidentally, the sisters return home at a time when their mother is suffering through a cancer diagnosis and the resultant treatments. While helping to look after her, there is a whole lot of learning and growth done by all three. They learn who they are and who they want to be as well as to trust in themselves and in each other. You will have to read the book if you want to find out whether or not they stay at home or pursue lives outside of Barnwell.

Obviously, one of the strong themes in this book is that of birth order. The New York Times says the book seems drawn from a Sociology of the Family textbook, which made me smile because yes, I thought that when I was reading the book. It does include some of the stereotypes of birth order. Other themes include coming of age, boomerang children, family conflict and love.

There is no violence and minimal foul language in this book. There is however, sex and adultery as well as drug and alcohol use though I believe that they are presented in a manner that is not offensive. They are an important part of the story of these women who are trying to find themselves.

The Weird Sisters is an entertaining novel and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. It is my first book by Eleanor Brown, a New York Times, national and international bestselling author and it will not be my last. You can buy your copy or read more about it on Amazon by clicking right here.

Be sure to let us know if you have read it or if you will be reading it and, of course, what you thought of it.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy your copy of The Weird Sisters on Amazon.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Accountant Reviewed

A Movie That Surprised Me

account ledger
Accountant Ledger image from Pixabay.com
This past weekend my husband and I watched the movie The Accountant so I would like to review it for you today. We both loved the movie but probably for a lot of different reasons; let me explain. 

First of all, I admire Ben Affleck as an actor; after watching this movie that admiration has grown exponentially! When one sees the cover of the DVD, women might think that they want to pass on this movie. After all, Ben is holding a gun in his arms so that probably means it is a shoot 'em up kind of film. It is; there is quite a bit of violence in it but there is more to it. It is the "more" that made me love the movie and become a bigger fan of Mr. Affleck.


The basic premise is that Christian Wolff (played by Ben Affleck) is a math savant who works for some of the biggest crime organizations in the world; cooking their books. He hides under the guise of a small town CPA, lives quite modestly and keeps a very low profile. He is hired by a legitimate multi-million dollar business when they think that there might be a discrepancy in the accounting of the company. Some money appears to be missing.

So far you might be thinking "well, this doesn't sound all that remarkable" and I would agree with you; so stay with me. Without giving too much away I need to explain more about Christian. It isn't so much that he is extraordinary when it comes to numbers, it is that he is actually an autistic savant. Ben Affleck portrays a very believable adult who falls into the high functioning spectrum of autism.

It is this part of the movie that moved me the most, the story of a man with autism. We see glimpses of his past in an era when not much was known about autism by the medical professionals and the parents of kids with autism. We see the abuses suffered by a child who can't grasp the concept of social skills, who can't cope when they aren't able to finish a process or their routine is disrupted. We see a misguided parent trying to help his child be able to function in society. It is all of this that touched my heart deeply.

This movie is one that I think men will enjoy because of the macho fighting scenes and that part of the story. It is one that women will be touched by because of the back story of a person with special needs. My husband and I watch a lot of movies together and we both loved this movie very much. I don't think that you will be disappointed if you watch it, too. There are a lot of surprises with twists and turns in the plot.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale Book Review

A friend told me that Kristin Hannah’s novel The Nightingale was an excellent book and it was. Though I know this book is a work of fiction, it does deal with real situations that happened during the time period that France was occupied by Germany in World War II.

I know things that happen in this book happened to real people in France. I have always read books set in this time period. However, what happened in that war is still hard to believe. Truly unbelievable. Despite knowing that people were treated in this manner, I still managed to come away in disbelief saying to my husband things like, "How could anyone treat people the way they did?" and "How did the French people manage to survive in those conditions?" We are not talking about one or two crazy people here, right? We are talking about an 'army' of people mistreating people.

Anyway, in my opinion, Kristin Hannah has crafted a wrenching story with a family and with characters that you will come to love. Yes, you are likely going to shed some tears. Yes, you will be upset by the violence and the cruelty and the sexual situations in this book though I must say that it is far from the worst book that I have read in those matters though perhaps more disturbing because it feels so real.

The Nightingale deals with the contributions made to World War II by women. Unfortunately, those important contributions like the women depicted in this book who joined the French Resistance or who managed despite incredible odds to feed their families, have not been as widely acknowledged or recognised as those of men.

In particular, this book deals with two quite different sisters: One who wants to keep her family safe; the other who is not willing to accept the things that are happening to them. It is a story of courage and survival parts of which were inspired by real women like 19-year old Belgian, Andrée De Jongh, who took considerable risks helping people escape from France.

Here is the book trailer. I do not know if it is official or not but it does give a good idea of the things that happen in this story:



This book is well done and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me and by many others. If you love a book that shares a great story about women’s lives and that is historically based you will enjoy The Nightingale. It is riveting. You will not even notice that it the hardcover book is 440 pages or that the paperback is 600, particularly if you read it as an ebook.

By way of further recommendation, you might take the fact that, according to The New York Times in 2016, this book had sold more than two million copies. This book has drawn both men and women as well as young and old readers. As one who has always been captivated by World War II novels it comes as no surprise to me when the Times stated that people are drawn to them. However, I was interested to learn that this book has drawn a younger generation of readers who perhaps relate to this novel because of how young people were drawn to the French Resistance.

If you are interested in reading The Nightingale, you can find it in all formats including eBook, audiobook and traditional paper book, on Amazon by clicking right here.  I’ve just noticed on the cover that this movie is to become a major motion picture. There is not much information available as I write this other than a rumoured movie release date of 2017, which means that once you have read the book you have a movie to look forward to.

If you like historical fiction, you might also enjoy these reviews on Review This:

Secret Healer by Ellin Carsta, which is set in 14th Century Germany.

The movie The Bridge of Spies, which is set in the cold war.

The One Man by Andrew Gross, which is set in Poland in 1944.

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

Quick Link:

Order your copy of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale from Amazon.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Is Elvis Alive? Losing Graceland Book Review


Losing Graceland: What Would Elvis Be Like If He Were Alive?


For the life of me, I cannot explain exactly why I read Losing Graceland: A Novel. I know why I picked it up - in part because it is a fictional story about what Elvis might be like if he had faked his death and was still alive and in part because I have always been interested in Elvis Presley.

Of course, you cannot and probably should not judge a book by the cover and in this case sandwiched between the two covers was some content that I was not comfortable with. That's your warning. This book has sexual content that might make you uncomfortable. It did me. And did I mention violence? There is some of that, too.

But still, I read it right through to the end. Something compelled me to keep reading. I wanted to know what would happen to the aging Elvis impersonator (who might really be Elvis) and the young man he hired to help him find his granddaughter. The adventures were entertaining. Along the road there was a fight with biker gangs (and befriend them), a visit with an oracle and a battle to save a hooker from her pimp.

At first glance, this book is a light read but it also deals with two interesting lives: that of an old man whose body is unwell, who has an addiction to pain killers and who lives with an incredible legacy and that of a young man who is heart broken and unemployed.

Reviews of this book are a mixed bag with most people saying they enjoyed reading it. Take one old man with a lifetime of regrets, add a young man with his future before him and what do you have? An emotional story, perhaps a bit too short. If you're a fan of Elvis, the consensus of the reviews is that this is an enjoyable lightweight fictional story. It will make you think about what Elvis Presley might be like today if he were still alive.

Click here to order your copy of Losing Graceland: A Novel from Amazon.

What would Elvis Presley be like if he were alive?


I want to close by telling you about a scene in this book when Elvis takes the stage at an impersonator contest and the crowd really goes wild just as though they were seeing the real Elvis.  A lady faints. A young mother hardly knows her child needs her. Another woman screams that she cannot breathe. Two men have a fist fight. A young girl vomits. Hands grope on stage for Elvis. The crowd screams. The announcer begs people to be calm. Elvis leaves the stage and says to his travelling companions, "Heartbreaker still breaking hearts. You like my show?" I did like your show, Elvis, and I will admit, you gave me goosebumps.

If Elvis was still alive, he would be 82 today. I think that it would be interesting if he were still alive, although not so much if he was in the condition of the impersonator in Losing Graceland. I cannot help but wonder what it must have been like to have seen Elvis Presley in person. What was it like to be Elvis Presley? And finally, what would he be like today if he were still alive?

What do you think Elvis Presley would have done with the rest of his life if he had lived past the age of 42?

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

More Elvis Presley Reading


The Best Elvis Presley Movies
Elvis Presley starred in 31 movies and 2 concert documentary films all of which were released in movie theatres. On this page, we celebrate the three of the films that are considered his best...

Elvis Presley Christmas Duets
In 2008, long after his death, Elvis Presley released this album, Elvis Presley Christmas Duets on which he could be heard singing Christmas songs with some of today's top female vocalists. Learn more...

The Elvis Presley Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich ...
Understandably, residents of Tennessee feel a sense of pride when they think of their home state. There are many iconic things that have come out of Tennessee: the Vols, Kenny Chesney, the 1982 World's Fair, and the Elvis Sandwich...

Copyright 2011 Treasures By Brenda


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, June 24, 2016

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey Book Review

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is a light and easy read designed for those of us who were addicted to the highly popular PBS mini-series Downton Abbey. I will readily admit that I am one of those addicts and that I enjoyed this lightweight book. I bonded with the characters and at moments laughed out loud.

While We Were Watching tells the story of a group of women discovering not just Downton Abbey but friendship, too. Written by Wendy Wax, it shares their modern day struggles and how they support each other through the ups and the downs that life has thrown at them.

Set in The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building that sounds absolutely lovely, this story features three main female characters:

Samantha Davis, a wealthy woman who married for money for herself and her younger siblings.

Claire Walker, a struggling author now also struggling to be happy on her own as an empty nester in a new environment.

Brooke MacKenzie, a woman married to an unfaithful husband and a decidedly un-nice husband.

Author Wendy Wax pictured George Clooney
playing butler Edward. What do you think?
Picture available on Amazon.
All three are brought together inadvertently by the male concierge, Edward when he decides to host a Downton Abbey night once a week in the building's movie room. Of course, he does so brilliantly and you will wish you could watch the series with this cast of characters. You will want to join them for a glass of wine and you will want some of the Downton-style British-themed treats, too.

The story unfolds with both drama and humour. You will find yourself cheering the ladies on. The story will quickly draw you in and, unfortunately, be over far too soon.

If you are looking for something fun to read that harks back to Downton Abbey, you might want to pick up While We Were Watching Downton Abbey. It would of course make an excellent gift choice for someone who is enthralled with the series. You can order your copy of While We Were Watching Downton Abbey from Amazon by clicking right here.

Are you a Downton Abbey fan?

Happy Reading!
Brenda

MORE BOOKS BY WENDY WAX


Wendy Wax set aside other projects in order to write about Downton Abbey since she and the rest of the world were so keen on that series. Her other books include the Ten Beach Road four-book series shown here. You can check out all of Wax's books for yourself on Amazon by clicking right here.

MORE DOWNTON ABBEY


The Best Downton Abbey Gift Ideas 
If you loved Downton Abbey, you will love some of these merchandise items whether you are shopping for yourself or a friend.

Downton Abbey Tea Cups 
A page from the 31 Days of Coffee Mugs; a great set of teacups.

Downton Abbey Christmas Video Parodies 
Did you see the Downton Abbey Christmas parody videos? They feature all of the original cast members and a few surprises.

MORE PERIOD BOOKS


Writing Jane Austen Book Review 
Imagine if you were given a chapter of a seventh Jane Austen novel. A novel, that is, which she never finished. Then imagine being asked to finish the book for her and you will have a basic understanding of what this book is all about.

Mildred Pierce: The Book, The Movie & The Mini-Series 
After first thoroughly enjoying the book Mildred Pierce, I went on to watch and enjoy the 1945 Joan Crawford movie and the 2011 HBO mini-series that stars Kate Winslet. 

Austenland Book Review 
As a huge fan of Jane Austen movies and books, my antennae perked up when I heard of the new movie, Austenland. I would love to have a vacation there.

The Pink Dress by Anne Alexander
A 1950s story of teenage life. Written for high school aged girls, who fondly remember the book and want to share it with their female children and grand children.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.