I went to see the @CatsMovie and it was ineffably purr-fect

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Cats Movie Poster

TheCats Movie is now out in theaters and there are so many reviews panning it that I feel obligated to write my own review because I thought it was ineffably purr-fect. I think a lot of people who are lucky enough to spend their time with real-life cats will probably agree.

For those who don’t know much about the plot, Cats is based on the original poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot and the Broadway musical produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is dumped on the deserted streets of London’s West End. She is then adopted by a group of Jellicle Cats, i.e. a group of cats with very big and distinct personalities. They are preparing for the Jellicle Ball where they will each perform a musical number about themselves and the winner will be given a new life. It seems pretty clear to me that this is a metaphor for abandoned rescue cats vying to “win” a new life with a new family.

That’s it, that’s the entire premise. There are also a lot of songs as each cat has their own song that describes their personality. The movie has a little bit of action and romance added in, and the villainy of  Macavity (Idris Elba) is expanded upon, but the main point is the same as the musical: all cats deserve to be treated well by their humans and have a home, they all have their own distinct personalities and cat people love them for it. Even when they are being creepy furry little jerks.

As  Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) breaks the fourth wall to explain, cats are not dogs, they are ineffable, and that’s why we love them. So if you are not a cat person then perhaps this movie isn’t for you, but I guarantee that cat lovers will recognise all of these characters in cats they’ve known.  This movie has taken the universal cat characters that have been so well developed by the original poems and  previous productions and created some really lovable and universally relatable cats.

I particularly loved Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Grizabella, the former glamour cat who is too scared to let anyone close, Taylor Swift’s sexy femme fatale  Bombalurina, Ian McKellen’s  Gus the ancient theater cat with regrets, and James Corden as Bustopher Jones, the funny fat cat who wanders the neighbourhood looking for treats.

Now, there definitely are some problems with the CGI of this movie. It seems to me that they wanted to keep the theater like feel of Andrew Lloyd Webbers’ original musical, as well as the gritty feel of the setting of the 1930s era London streets. This seems to have caused some very strange decisions in terms of the CGI and a lot of the time it just didn’t work. 

I particularly hated the scene with the CGI mice and cockroaches with human faces. It was unnecessarily creepy and looked like something out of a movie from the 1980s, which is a shame because it took away from Rebel Wilson’s otherwise fine Jennyanydots, the lazy gumbie cat. I was also uncomfortable with the fact that they kept the human hands and feet, whatever it was that they did to their faces, and I thought the tail and bottom areas were unsettling sexy at times.

Speaking of unsettling sexy moments, I’m still not sure what to think or say about  Rum Tum Tugger‘s (Jason Derulo) “Miiiiiiilk” scene. But I have definitely had to shoo away horny female cats from my desexed indoor boys, and cats can be real creeps sometimes, so I guess it tracks? It was certainly an experience and everybody in the theater seemed somewhat dazed and confused at this point, until we all decided to laugh and didn’t really stop for the rest of the movie.

In fact, I was in stitches laughing at the ridiculous, over the top, and absolutely bonkers portrayal of cats, which is exactly how cats are in real life. I’m not sure what other people were expecting going into this movie, but I was expecting a funny, crazy and somewhat creepy portrayal of cats with lots of big musical numbers and that’s exactly what I got. The jokes and funny cat behaviours are universal and mostly funny, the songs are catchy and recognisable enough to somebody who has never seen the musical (although many fans of the original seem to have issues with some of the changes to the music), and I was thoroughly mesmerised and entertained.

I know the reviews canning it are very funny, but if you are cat person and you go into it knowing that it’s going to be silly and ridiculous, you just might like it. I predict this movie is going to become a cult classic, just like the musical, because all of the reasons why this movie shouldn’t work apply to the original too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Essential Christmas Movie List

A couple of years ago I posted my essential Christmas Movie List. Things have changed since 2015 and there are so many new Christmas movies being made each year.

Help me put together a new and improved Christmas movie list for 2019 and let me know  your favourite new Christmas movies!

Scatterbooker

There is nothing like a good Christmas movie to help get me into the Christmas spirit. Since I have so many Christmas favourites I’ve put together a list of some of the best.

Elf (2003) elf

There is nothing quite like the hilarity of Will Ferrel dressed in tights to bring on a festive feeling. I always watch Elf at the beginning of December to kick things off.

Description:

One Christmas Eve a long time ago, a baby crawled into Santa’s bag of toys Raised as an elf. Buddy goes looking for his true place in the world–in New York City.

Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2001) grinch

Another good movie to watch if you need some help getting into the Christmas spirit.

Description:

Discover the magic of the Mean One this holiday season! Oscar-winning director Ron Howard and Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer bring Christmas’ best-loved grump to life with…

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Book Review: ‘Exposure’ by Rose Edmunds @RoseEdmunds #amreading 

Synopsis 

City high-flyer Amy has crashed and burned. Fresh out of rehab and with her career in tatters, the sudden death of an old friend propels her into an illicit undercover fraud investigation.

But Amy’s in way over her head. The assignment quickly turns sour, pitching her into a nightmare where no one can be trusted and nothing is what it seems. 

In mortal danger, and with enemies old and new conspiring against her, Amy’s resilience is tested to the limit as she strives to defeat them and rebuild her life

My Thoughts 

Exposure is the second novel in the Crazy Amy series by Rose Edmunds. I got hooked on this series a while ago when I read the first novel,  Concealment.  

Exposure picks up with Amy’s life not long after the climatic ending of Concealment. Poor Amy is not coping well with 

Book Review: THE TIGER CATCHER (END OF FOREVER #1) by Paullina Simons @paullinasimons

THE TIGER CATCHER  is the long awaited first novel of THE END OF FOREVER TRILOGY by romance writer extraordinaire Paullina Simons, author of THE BRONZE HORSEMAN and TULLY.

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THE TIGER CATCHER by Paullina Simons 

“A timeless love story…and the adventure of several lifetimes”

Paperback Edition: 464 pages

Published: May 28th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 0732294924 (ISBN13: 9780732294922)
Series: END OF FOREVER #1

Source: HarperCollins Publishers Australia

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“The first novel in a beautiful, heartbreaking new trilogy from Paullina Simons, the international bestselling author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman.

Can true love ever die?

Julian lives a charmed life in Los Angeles. Surrounded by friends, he is young, handsome, and runs a successful business. Everything changes after he has a fateful encounter with a mysterious young woman named Josephine. Julian’s world is turned upside down by a love affair that takes him—and everyone else in his life—by storm. For the two new lovers, the City of Angels is transformed into a magical playground.

But Josephine is not what she seems and carries secrets that threaten to tear them apart—seemingly forever.

A broken man, his faith in tatters, Julian meets a mysterious stranger who tells him how to find Josephine again if he is willing to give up everything and take a death-defying trip from which no one has ever returned.

So begins Julian and Josephine’s extraordinary adventure of love, loss, and the mystical forces that bind people across time and space. It is a journey that propels Julian toward an impossible choice which will lead him to love fulfilled…or to oblivion.

The Tiger Catcher takes readers from the depths of despair to the dizzying heights of joy in the first novel of an unforgettable trilogy of love lost and found. For all fans of Outlander, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Jojo Moyes. “

My Review 

Julian is a slightly bored and cynical young man living an apparently charmed life in contemporary Los Angeles.  His perfect life is turned upside down after a series of chance encounters with a beautiful actress. Within a matter of days Julian has dumped his girlfriend and is head over heals for the mysterious Josephine.

Their relationship hits some not entirely unexpected speed bumps and when tragedy strikes Julian does whatever it takes to be with the love of his life.

The only issue I had with this book is that I found Josephine to be really difficult to relate to and found it difficult to believe that Julian was so in love with her based on her actions throughout the novel. Hopefully her character will be explored more fully in the rest of the series.

THE TIGER CATCHER is a bit of a departure from Paullina Simons’ other books. It’s still an epic romance story and the same brilliant writing is evident throughout the novel, but there is definitely a new mystical element to this book. I don’t wan’t to provide too many spoilers, but I really enjoyed these mystical elements and love this new direction that Simons is taking.

4 stars!

 

 

 

Book Review: HOPE by Terry Tyler @TerryTyler4

Terry Tyler’s latest dystopian novel, HOPE, is a chilling psychological thriller set in the not too distant future.

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HOPE by Terry Tyler

‘We haven’t elected a Prime Minister, we’ve elected a lifestyle’.

Kindle Edition

Published: May 24th 2019 by Terry Tyler

AISN: B07S89DK54

Source: Own Copy

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“As the fourth decade of the 21st century looms, new PM Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona (hashtag MoMo) are hailed as the motivational couple to get the UK #FitForWork, with Mona promising to ‘change the BMI of the nation’. 

Lita Stone is an influential blogger and social media addict, who watches as Guy and Mona’s policies become increasingly ruthless. Unemployment and homelessness are out of control. The solution? Vast new compounds all over the country, to house those who can no longer afford to keep a roof over their heads.

These are the Hope Villages, financed by US corporation Nutricorp.

Lita and her flatmates Nick and Kendall feel safe in their cosy cyberspace world. Unaware of how swiftly bad luck can snowball, they suspect little of the danger that awaits the unfortunate, behind the carefully constructed mirage of Hope.”

Terry Tyler’s nineteenth published work is a psychological thriller that weaves through the darker side of online life, as the gap between the haves and the have-nots grows ever wider. Whether or not it will mirror a dystopian future that awaits us, we will have to wait and see.”

My Thoughts

Lita Stone is a successful lifestyle blogger and social media addict who feels like she has finally found a real home and family with her flatmates. Nick is a freelance journalist who takes out his political frustrations via his secret online persona and Kendall is a sweet, but often superficial and dim, retail assistant.

The three flatmates become concerned about what is going on the UK with their recently elected new prime minister Guy Morrissey and his fitness guru wife Mona’s austere approach to tackle unemployment and homelessness.

Along with Mona’s #FitForLife and #FitForWork that are aimed at reducing the BMI of the UK, US based mega-corporation, Nutricorp, has come up with a solution to tackle homelessness by building compounds where homeless people are supposed to be able to live and be given the help they need to get back on their feet. These compounds are called Hope Villages and their socials certainly do paint an idealistic picture.

Several Hope Village success stories plastered across social media by the Nutricorp social media team capturing the attention of the nation, but Lita and Nick begin to suspect that they are not all they’re cracked up to be and seriously lacking in actual hope. Can they expose what’s really going on at Hope Villages and get away with it or is the UK already set on the path to round up the homeless and keep them out of sight?

The thing that makes HOPE so chilling is that the premise doesn’t seem so far-fetched given the current global political climate. We live in world where the unemployed and homeless are treated second class citizens and it is becoming increasingly more difficult for people to turn their lives around once they find themselves in this situation.

I found myself willing the main characters to get through the grim situations they found themselves in. I loved Lita for her braveness and determination and Nick for his cynical rebellion against the establishment, although his rash decisions did stress me out. Terry Tyler really has found her niche in the dystopian genre and I can’t wait to be read what scary possible futures she comes up with next.

5 stars!

Karen Viggers Author Event at Mornington Library @ViggersK

I was lucky to be at the beautiful Mornington Library just in time to catch an author event featuring Karen Viggers, author of the The Stranding, The Lightkeeper’s Wife, The Grass Castle, and her latest novel, The Orchardist’s Daughter. 

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THE ORCHARDIST’S DAUGHTER by Karen Viggers

Sixteen-year old Mikaela has grown up isolated and home-schooled on an apple orchard in southeastern Tasmania, until an unexpected event shatters her family. Eighteen months later, she and her older brother Kurt are running a small business in a timber town. Miki longs to make connections and spend more time in her beloved forest, but she is kept a virtual prisoner by Kurt, who leads a secret life of his own.

When Miki meets Leon, another outsider, things slowly begin to change. But the power to stand up for yourself must come from within. And Miki has to fight to uncover the truth of her past and discover her strength and spirit.

Set in the old-growth eucalypt forests and vast rugged mountains of southern Tasmania, The Orchardist’s Daughter is an uplifting story about friendship, resilience and finding the courage to break free.

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Karen Viggers Author Event at Mornington Library

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Karen talk about books, as well as her writing and publishing process. It was fantastic to hear an author be so honest about all the hard work that goes into writing a book and I think many aspiring authors would be encouraged to learn that it took five years and a huge rewrite before The Orchardist’s Daughter was finished!

The large audience was fantastic to see and Karen answered the many thoughtful questions fantastically. I don’t think I would ever be able to think so quickly on my feet!

Many thanks to Karen Viggers for such an interesting talk, the Mornington Library for organsing the event and providing such a great event room, and the local independent bookstore Farrell’s Bookshop  for being on hand with copies of The Orchardist’s Daughter at the ready. I’m looking forward to reading my copy soon! 

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THE ORCHARDIST’S DAUGHTER by Karen Viggers

About the Author

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Karen Viggers

Karen Viggers writes contemporary realist fiction set in Australian landscapes, and her work explores connection with the bush, grief and loss, healing in nature, death, family, marriage and friendship. Her books tackle contentious issues including choices at the end of life, whale rescue, kangaroo culling, scientific research on animals and logging of native forests.

Karen is a wildlife veterinarian who has worked and traveled in many remote parts of Australia, from Antarctica to the Kimberley. Her novels are known for their evocative portrayal of Australian people and landscapes.

Connect with Karen at:

Karen Viggers

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Book Review: THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan @DervlaMcTiernan

I have been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. Luckily, I have had the brilliantly atmospheric second novel of the Cormac Reilly crime thriller series THE SCHOLAR by Derva McTiernan to drag me out of my reading and blogging slump!

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THE SCHOLAR by Dervla McTiernan

“Being brilliant has never been so dangerous”

Paperback: 377 pages

Published: February 18th 2019 by HarperCollins – AU

ISBN: 1460754220 (ISBN13: 9781460754221)

Series: Cormac Reilly #2

Source: HarperCollins Publishers Australia

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“When DS Cormac Reilly’s girlfriend Emma stumbles across the victim of a hit and run early one morning, he is first on the scene of a murder that would otherwise never have been assigned to him. The dead girl is carrying an ID, that of Carline Darcy, heir apparent to Darcy Therapeutics, Ireland’s most successful pharmaceutical company. Darcy Therapeutics has a finger in every pie, from sponsoring university research facilities to funding political parties to philanthropy – it has funded Emma’s own
ground-breaking research. The investigation into Carline’s death promises to be high profile and high pressure.

As Cormac investigates, evidence mounts that the death is linked to a Darcy laboratory and, increasingly, to Emma herself. Cormac is sure she couldn’t be involved, but how well does he really know her? After all, this isn’t the first time Emma’s been accused of murder…”

THE SCHOLAR picks up the life of Irish detective Cormac Reilly not long after the ending of the runaway best selling THE RÚIN. Since then, he has moved to Galway with his girlfriend Emma so that she can take up a prestigious job at the Irish pharmaceutical giant Darcey Therapeutics.

Cormac has taken a step backwards in his policing duties which suits him quite well. Despite the boredom and petty office politics he is dealing with, he is quite enjoying living a peaceful life with Emma…until she is accused of committing an unthinkable crime that he is working on. Cormac is forced to question his loyalty to the woman he loves and his own ethics when his work on the case comes under scrutiny.

The setting of Galway University as the scene of the crime was perfectly done and really added to the tense and atmospheric feel of the novel. I love the book cover design, which includes a dark and menacing image of Galway University.

THE SCHOLAR is a page-turning crime thriller that will have you wondering what the truth really is until the very end. We’ve come to know Cormac and Emma so well that it feels like such a huge betrayal when the evidence against Emma begins to mount up and it seems as though Cormac has used his position to protect her. This is a testament to Dervla McTiernan’s excellent character development skills.

I can’t wait to read more about Cormac Reilly. 5 stars!