Saturday Review

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Paperback, UK, 144 pages

Published October 20th 2016 by BookShots

ISBN: 1786530279 (ISBN13: 9781786530271)

Edition Language: English

This is the fourth book I’ve read by James Patterson in the past month (it was a buy 3 get one free deal).

I’m now convinced that Mr. Patterson has the nasty habit of over consuming media then regurgitating it in the form of something he thinks would sell without getting him sued.

There was a news story a few years back with a similar set up to this fictional one. a reclusive millionaire wanted a wife that would be with him for the good times only as he didn’t think he would have ANY bad times with all that cash. It was a fluff piece at best but because I’m a romantic at heart I still remember it to this day.

This Book is an elaboration on that only in “the bachelor” reality TV style where three woman are “tastefully” filtered to find the one.

Now it starts off with an interesting idea but then his dog drools on his keyboard and it de-evolves into every motivational pic you see on facebook and pinster!

For ones thing I kept mixing the women! they were all exactly the same!

One was Funny, Charming, smart, beautiful, hard working and single but had a bad break-up previously

The second was Funny, Charming, smart, beautiful, hard working and single but had a bad break-up previously

The third was Funny, charming, smart and do I really need to copy/paste all this again?

Seriously he had three Mary Sues in there and the only difference between them is their hair color (a blonde, a brunette and a girl with black hair walk into a bar…)

Also this fails to follow through with the actual premise it sets up, find miss perfect, then… then…. errrrrrrr never mind forget it. Give her something shiny to distract her!

This one is better left on the shelf, I am however going to be generous and give it one extra star (aka 2 stars total not just one) because it was so short and from the very beginning set me expectations low.

Book Review #179

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Hardcover, 444 pages

Published February 10th 2009 by Amy Einhorn Books

Original Title

The Help

ISBN

0399155341 (ISBN13: 9780399155345)

Edition Language

English

URL

http://www.kathrynstockett.com/stockett-synopsis.htm

setting

Jackson, Mississippi, 1962 (United States)

Literary Awards

Audie Award for Fiction (2010), Exclusive Books Boeke Prize (2009), SIBA Book Award for Fiction (2010), Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Debut (2010), Puddly Award for Fiction (2011)

Lincoln Award Nominee (2013), Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle for roman (2011), Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction (2009)

The Help details the lives of three women living in Jackson, Mississippi, right when the Civil Rights Movement began. There is Skeeter, a twenty-two-year-old aspiring writer who terribly misses her maid, Constantine. Aibileen is an experienced and knowledgeable black maid who is currently taking care of her seventeenth child, Mae Mobley, even though she realizes what’s at stake for both of them. And Minny is a fierce, sassy cook who doesn’t take nonsense from anyone, even when it risks her employment. This tumultuous trio takes the first step in sparking a movement that will ignite fire to the racism and hypocrisy of their small town.

My synopsis of the story probably isn’t even a tenth of the merit it deserves. I don’t want to spoil too much about the book, but the most amazing thing about The Help is its characters. They are so real, so lifelike, I could feel their thoughts pulsing through my head and their emotions racing through my veins. I was angry alongside them, cheered for them, and cried with them.

I think everyone should read this book, especially people who are ignorant about the racism and hypocrisy that still manages to plight everyday society. The Help wasn’t just a darn good read, but something that has made me reevaluate and examine my own morals. I’ll never forget it.

Book Review #178

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eBook, 147 pages
Published August 9th 2013 by Total-E-Bound Publishing (first published August 8th 2013)
Oh my gosh…I am hooked on the dark side! The Darkening was an incredible read for me. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like. All the elements I enjoy where here for me to enjoy. The characters were just WOW (I’ll get back to them in a moment). The dialog had me alternating between laughing and fanning myself. Let’s not forget the details. Frankly, the attention to detail that some authors use can sometimes be wording and boring. However, this was not the case for me today. The author description of the countryside astounded me. I could just see those English Moors and fields of heather. I see other reviews where people will say this is just another FSoG. I do wish people would stop comparing every erotic novel to FSoG because frankly, I enjoyed this story so much more. Between the smarmy comments, the British humor and slang (which I do get) and the hot sex, I was riveted and could not put this book down. If I was to have one complaint about this book is I wish it was longer.

Nathan Darke, charming, good looking, British. I can’t resist a guy with an accent. *SIGHS* My initial impression of him is a certain well known Dom minus all the angry emotional baggage and phobias. However, let’s be honest, the real star of this story is Eva. She’s intelligent, talented violinist, frumpy and socially clumsy. I adore the fact that she’s not perfect. With her frizzy red hair and smallish breast, frankly, I find her a breath of fresh air in her less than perfect state. In addition, even though she seems social inept, she does not come out all mousy meek. Oh no…she’s got a saucy back-bone that does rear her head. It is when that backbone pops up and she starts sparring with Nathan that I love her best. Yes, their sexual attraction between them is hot, and the sex SIZZLES, but really it is when they are interacting on a vocal and emotional level that really draws me in.
OK…here’s the part where I warn about the sex content. There is both vanilla sex as well toys and BDSM action. While the BDSM will automatically rate a book at 4-Flames it’s the author’s attention to detail (See above) that really does it for me. Hot, yummy and anytime Eva wants to tag out I’m sure that will be many a reader happy to take her place.

When author Ashe Barker say in the blurb that the story “ends on a cliffhanger that some readers might find upsetting” she is not kidding. I have yet to read a cliffhanger that had me screaming at my Kindle NOOO! Seriously, that is a cliffhanger guaranteed to have you panting for the next title. I personally cannot wait for the next book. Is Darkening a book worth reading? Oh yes! This is a series definitely worth my recommendation.

An added note – an over done cover can make or break a book. I like a cover that simple and this one rocked it for me. Its clean lines and elegance is what initially drew me to wanting to read Darkening in the first place. Shadows and a violin…simple perfection.

Book Review #177

18730321.jpgI remember reading Rutherfurd’s first historical epic, Sarum, and being swept away by the story of Salisbury, England and its families through the centuries. Since then, Rutherfurd has written several more of these historical novels, about Russia, Ireland, London and New York.

Rutherfurd has developed a sort of formula for these novels. He takes a few families and follows their generations through the centuries. The families tend to be from varying levels of society, so that their stories can give a fuller view of life in the particular location of the story. Different family members will be involved in some way with key events in the location’s history, and quite often the families have interactions or relationships with each other throughout the history.

In this book, the families are the highborn de Cygnes; the Le Sourds, pitted against the de Cygnes again and again throughout the ages; the laborer/artisan Gascons; the commerce-minded Blanchards; the Jewish Jacobs. For some reason not clear to me, Rutherfurd has chosen to skip around in time, rather than follow a chronological order. Not only do you jump from one set of characters to another from chapter to chapter, you may jump forward or backward in time.

This jumping around makes it difficult to develop the characters. Just as you’re starting to get a picture of one set of characters, the chapter ends. I suppose that’s the tradeoff for a novel that spans centuries and that focuses on the history of the place. The place becomes the protagonist and all the humans become side characters. Well, OK, if that’s the deal, then I can accept it if I love the treatment of the protagonist. But I can’t say that I did. Paris did not come alive for me in this book.

The sweeping sociopolitical events and movements in French/Parisian history are handled in very broad strokes and in a labored and pedantic way. You get a clue as to the style right from the get-go, when the history of the Paris Commune is given to us by way of a turgid monologue delivered by a mother to her son. I know this background has to be provided somehow, but the way this read, I could imagine Rutherfurd’s early draft saying “[insert history here].” I couldn’t help but compare it to Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle, where there is also a lot of historical information that is told by way of conversations, or one character telling another the history. I had just been listening to the audiobook and a character, Jack Shaftoe, tells his horse (really) some fairly lengthy history and it was both entertaining and educational; a huge contrast to this book.

Interspersed with the broad-brush historical descriptions, Rutherfurd focuses in on some selected events in a more personal way. One of these is his focus on the building of the Eiffel Tower, and Thomas Gascon’s work on both it and the Statue of Liberty that M. Eiffel designed and Parisians built as a gift to the United States. This was probably the most dynamic and lively part of the book, and Thomas Gascon the most dimensional character.

Unfortunately, that only tends to emphasize how paper-thin the characterization is in nearly all the other cases. People behave in ways that Rutherfurd lays no foundation for; presumably it’s just convenient for his plot. The characters seem like dolls that Rutherfurd uses to act out his stories, not like real people. I just didn’t care about any of them. That became painfully clear in the middle of the book, when there is a long chapter about a love/social position triangle. I wasn’t invested in the characters, because they hadn’t been brought to life. The same is true for almost the entire 20th century, when Rutherfurd inexplicably plunges the story into a ridiculous soap opera, complete with love triangles, an adoptee searching for her birth family, sexual intrigue and so on.

What’s more, most of this could have been placed almost anywhere. Paris is just window dressing. When a character goes to work as a model for Coco Chanel, we read virtually nothing about her work or Chanel. In other words, our protagonist, the city of Paris, is depicted as superficially as the human characters. An exception to this is when we arrive at World War II. Suddenly, the story becomes very Parisian and far less superficial. It’s a shame the reader has to wait until the last 100 pages of the book for this transformation.

It’s disappointing that Rutherfurd managed to write such a lackluster book about one of the world’s most fascinating cities. I would have given the book 1.5 stars, rounded down to 1 star, but because the World War II story was good, I’m rounding up to 2 stars.

Hot Dudes Reading

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It’s no secret that I love a man who appreciates the classics, but this buff beauty reading The Picture of Dorian Grey is worth more than a thousand words. Hopefully his choice of author means he won’t mind becoming part of my modern-day Aesthetic movement, but I’m more interested in finding out if he’s going to take a page from that book and start living a hedonistic life of sin. Because, in the words of another classic: F*ck being polite, I’m going #WildeForTheNight #ASAAAAP #HotDudesReading #HDRFangram

Book Review #176

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Hardcover, 386 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Scribner
adored this book right from the beginning. The intro felt magical.

I read Bowerman’s biography written by Kenny Moore, who was a teammate of Phil Knight’s on the Oregon track team. So I got a little of the history of Blue Ribbon Sports through that account, but not much about the change into Nike. Plus that account focused more on the making/designing of the shoes, which was where Bowerman was revolutionary.

Phil Knight spills his entire guts in this book. While reading, I was thinking, did Phil Knight really write this book himself, but then I learned of his background, his extensive love of reading and that he kept journals and the book just definitely felt like something he wrote.

This book is eloquent in its telling and its vocabulary. It reads like good fiction through instances that I might normally find mundane. Knight is humble in places where it’s fitting for him to be. I quickly saw that Nike is Nike because of his first employee (Johnson) and Knight doesn’t shy away at all from making that clear himself. He also makes it clear that he didn’t seem to quite deserve the loyalty he got from great employees that built Nike almost more than he did.

The book is so detailed also. There are numbers and years’ earnings and bank loan amounts and contract prices. I really felt I was on the ride of this crazy successful business from its infancy to when it finally got some breathing room.

I was at first perplexed that Knight doesn’t go into the endorsement contracts with someone like Jordan that clearly made Nike a behemoth, but I later changed my thoughts after talking to a friend about the book (S/O to Janeen). I think by eliminating those huge endorsement deals, the book felt gritty. It really was an account about the start of Nike and the struggle and the deceptions, and the lies told in the beginning and the balancing payrolls against paying back short term loans. All those things small biz owners understand all too well.

I also appreciate the honesty about his family life and how he feels they suffered because he had this huge dream that he couldn’t let go and how that was really his first priority. I think that’s a hard thing to say, but it seems true for many people that don’t like to admit it.

There’s a searingly honest account of his life now as an older man, the death of his son, and what’s next for him. I’m pretty sure I shed tears maybe twice during the reading of this book.

The one line that I kept thinking about this book that sums it up for me is that it’s a beautiful, honest, detailed love letter to the entrepreneur. And not just to the entrepreneur who’s trying to build a Nike, but to that entrepreneur that may reside in all of us whether expressed or not. Wonderful job Phil Knight.