How I Live Now {The book and movie}


How I Live by Meg Rosoff.

In the book, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth (who goes by the name of Daisy) arrives in England from America to stay with her Aunt Penn and her cousins, Osburt, Eddie, Isaac, and Piper .  Her aunt and cousins live on a farm in a remote area of the U.K.  Daisy gets a little homesick at first but then falls into a happy life with her family.  Despite them being cousins, Daisy and 14-year-old cousin Edmond fall in love.

Here comes the twist – World War Three is about to break out and enemy troops surround the farm.  Unfortunately Aunt Penn had been traveling and now can’t get back to her family.  Sounds like a tense book with a dystopian theme.  I haven’t read it yet but I did watch the movie.  This book won the 2004 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

The movie, I was told, took a few liberties and changed a bit of the plot.  That happens all the time though, it’s usually just a similar story line from the book.   Daisy, a neurotic and anorexic American teenager, is sent to the English countryside for the summer to stay with her Aunt Penn and her cousins, Eddie, Isaac, and Piper.   The movie eliminated the character of Osbert and made Eddie the oldest.  When she arrives in England there is tight security due to  terrorism, reports of a bombing in Paris.

As in the book, Daisy falls in love with Eddie but the character development is different.  Eddie has mystical connection to animals, hawks landing on his arm and other almost spiritual interactions with wild creatures.  Not weird, just a strange connection.

As it turns out Aunt Penn is an expert in terrorist extremist groups and has to leave for a meeting in Switzerland.  This is the beginning of WW III.  In her absence the children explore the woodlands surrounding the farm, unaware of the enemy troops about to converge on the farm and that part of England.  Aunt Penn’s expertise would come in handy now but she’s stuck in another country and can’t help.

A nuclear bomb is detonated in or near London killing hundreds of thousands. Martial law is imposed, electricity goes out, troops descend and they are left to defend, hide or flee.   This was filmed in England and Wales.

I enjoyed the movie and you can’t go wrong with Saoirse Ronan. I have so many books lined up for this month so I know I won’t get to this book yet, but I would like to compare the differences,

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday



Lonely Planet bring us a Film and TV Locations book

Our local library recently acquired this book and on a whim I checked it out.  What a cool book! It gives the locations of more than 100 movies or TV shows.  Did you ever wonder where King’s Landing in Westeros, from Game of Thrones was filmed?  It’s in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The Martian, one of my favorite movies and books, was filmed in Jordan on the red sands.  Don’t you think of red sand and Mars?  Perfect.  The Kellig Islands in Ireland are seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  So many perfect fantasy settings are actual places and it’s fun to browse through this book.  It also gave me ideas for movies I want to see coming up.

This book is from Lonely Planet.


Agatha Raisin – The books and the TV series

M.C. Beaton writes two series – 27 books so far in the Agatha Raisin series and 33 books in the Hamish MacBeth series. For years I have been enjoying the Agatha Raisin books but I am no where near caught up to her exploits.

I was delighted to see Acorn TV produced a television series based on the books. There is already a long running series for Hamish MacBeth starring Robert Carlyle, but I haven’t gottern interested in that one as of yet.

agathaRaisin So, how do the Agatha Raisin books compare to the TV show? From the first two episodes they actually follow the plot well.  The physical differences are quite different for me but then, we all get certain ideas as to what a book character looks like as we read.

TV Agatha is much prettier and more physically fit than the book version.  Also, the TV character James Lacey (a romantic interest of Agatha’s) is younger and quite dishy, in my opinion.  Overall the plot does follow the books and I hope they continue with the series.

There was a TV series on back in the 1990’s called Murder, She Wrote.  Jessica Fletcher was the amateur sleuth, using her charm and persistance to solve crimes.  This is rather an English version of that old show but with a Bridget Jones’ twist to our main character.  If you like mysteries and love to see the English countryside, this is a show I think you would enjoy.

There is a YouTube video at the bottom of this post if you’d like to get a preview of the show. I love the scenery!

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday


The Martian starring Matt Damon. A look at the movie and the book

food-n-flix-march-2017  A couple of years ago I read The Martian by Andy Weir.  My review (if you’d like to revisit it) is HERE.  Loved the book and will probably reread it again one day.

Well, as I was surfing around a few days ago I came across the movie being featured at Food ‘n Flix.  I knew I wanted to participate as that is one great movie.  Have you seen it?  So entertaining.

I must confess to liking the book a little bit more but the movie pretty much followed with the exception of the ending.  I wish they had spent more time with Watney traversing the craters, trying to get to his destination.  Also, the interactions with the crew were so much more detailed.


But – I am not dissing this movie!  It was phenomenal.  Matt Damon was a perfect fit for the character Mark Watney and he played that role so well. Ridley Scott as director insured it would be a blockbuster.

After being left for dead Watney, being an engineer and scientist, looked at his situation pragmatically but also with humor.  I liked that – facing an almost certain death on Mars yet his smart ass personality still shines.

Watney:   “Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be “in command” if I were the only remaining person.”
What do you know? I’m in command

Once NASA realizes he is alive they worry about his physical and mental well-being as they have no way to contact him.

He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.

And then you see what is going on with Watney:
LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 “How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”


I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!

You have science, you have humor, compassion as well as respect for what he is dealing with in a way most people just couldn’t handle.  I would curl in a ball, rocking and hoping death wouldn’t be painful.  But I am not a botanist, an engineer or a NASA qualified astronaut.  Someone intelligent enough to break down a problem and , in Mark’s words, Science the shit out it!

This movie is an excellent choice for a Food ‘n Flix feature.  You may not think there is much in the way of food, except the potatoes of course.  But with the space packaged foods and the Thanksgiving feast included you will hear mentions of Beef Stroganoff, spaghetti, sweet and sour chicken and stew.  Ketchup is mentioned quite a bit too 🙂

On those lines I wanted to make something with a tomato base but not a spaghetti dish.  I’ve had lots of pasta on our menus lately.  Eggplant Parmesan was the dish I decided upon.  It uses a tomato based sauce so, that’s what I brought to the party.

(Recipe at the end)

I am going to try and link this to a new Facebook page I created. New to that business, so we will see, LOL 😬

This month’s hostess at Food ‘n Flix is Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. Her announcement post is HERE.  Join in if you’d like to watch the movie and conjure up an inspired meal.

Also linking up with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking Series.


Eggplant Parmesan
Grab the following………..

2 eggplants (aubergines)
Olive oil
Panko breadcrumbs
A beaten Egg and a little bit of milk
2 ½ cups homemade tomato sauce, lots of herbs included
1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Skin and slice the eggplants, about 1/4 inch slices. Place them in a collander, salt them, place more layers, salt them. Sit 30 minutes.

Rinse the slices, bread them with Lanka and fry them in oil for just a bit. Now layer your tomato sauce, eggplant slices, cheese and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Eye in the Sky

eye in skyWe watched Eye in the Sky recently and found it to be a timely subject with the terrors raging around our world today.

The review and synopsis on The Guardian will do this plot more justice than I could.  Here is a snippet from that article:

“We open in Nairobi, where Aisha Takow’s young Alia twirls a hula hoop in her backyard. Throughout the drama, which plays out on closely observed monitor screens, we shall return to such aerial views of Alia, caught on airborne surveillance cameras, the words “not for targeting” significantly nestled in the bottom left of the frame.

From Nairobi we flit in quick succession to London, Nevada, Pearl Harbor and beyond, as the key players in a joint anti-terror operation assemble. Foremost among them is Helen Mirren’s Katherine Powell, the no-nonsense British colonel on the trail of al-Shabaab terrorists, most notably a radicalised UK citizen. Her mission is to “capture, not kill” the high-priority targets gathering near the yard where Alia plays. But when the spectre of an imminent suicide attack rears its head, her priorities become more lethal, as does the prospect of civilian casualties.”

eye in

This was Alan Rickman’s last on screen role and he played it well. You could feel and hear his barely controlled frustration as politicians “passed the buck” on making a decision. There was no time to spare in deciding if a Hellfire missile should be deployed to eliminate 4 well known terrorists.

Between the referring back and forth to higher ranks and the calls between the UK, US and Nairobi it was nail biting at times. Other times this movie seemed to move at a very slow pace. A conundrum as you know a real and imminent threat was about to be unleashed and there was the ability to stop it immediately.

How do you choose between the certain sacrifice of an innocent girl who is in the line of fire and that of eliminating suicide bombers. You watched as the suicide vests were loaded up and fitted to the volunteers. You watched as they made their video before planning to go out to a crowded shopping center or public place to detonate and kill many innocent people. One girl’s life or a hundred lives?


At times it was a tense movie yet slow moving and, as I said, very timely in regard to the horrific news we see and read these days.  Great acting by Helen Mirren, Iain Glen and Alan Rickman just to single out two of my favorites.

Linking up with Joy’s British Isles Friday