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text 2019-01-16 17:20
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
As a Man Thinketh: Classic Wisdom for Proper Thought, Strong Character, and Right Actions - James Allen

In the bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, "Peace, be still!"

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review 2019-01-15 23:20
The Forest of Dark Delights - James Cox

Ammetto che non avrei dato un singolo euro alla storia sembrandomi in un primo momento un'idea stupida e trash, utile solamente a creare scene erotiche e situazioni ridicole e inverosimili e invece... si è rivelata una lettura molto carina e piacevole.
La storia è un continuo della famosa fiaba La bella e la Bestia ma con parecchie differenze. Il cattivone Gaston infatti non è morto, è stato salvato dal suo amico Lefou che ahimè ha perso la vita per difenderlo dai lupi. Gaston si ritrova ferito e confuso, in crisi con se stesso e pieno di sensi di colpa, senza un posto dove andare e una famiglia da cui tornare ed è proprio per questo motivo che non trovando pace decide di fare ammenda per i suoi peccati e di tentare in tutti i modi di farsi perdonare dalla Bestia e da Belle. Ritorna quindi al castello e si ritrova... una situazione molto diversa da quella che ci si sarebbe aspettati. La bestia ormai è un uomo affascinante, Adam, nonostante la maledizione sia stata spezzata l'uomo però non è felice. La sua amata Belle infatti ha gettato la maschera rivelando una natura crudele e spietata, la giovane non è innamorata del compagno ma guidata solo dalla sua ossessione per i libri che la spingono a saccheggiare il villaggio e causare dolore ovunque vada arrivando addirittura ad aggredire il dolce Chip e solo perchè quest'ultimo ha osato toccare uno dei suoi preziosi libri. Adam ha quindi mandato via i suoi amici per tenerli al sicuro e ora si ritrova da solo, in un castello ormai in decadenza, un casa fredda e vuota in cui Belle fa a malapena ritorno e quelle poche volte lo fa è semplicemente per portare qualche nuovo libro da aggiungere alla sua collezione, senza preoccuparsi neanche di avvertire il fidanzato o parlare con lui. Adam è solo e disperato e passa tutto il giorno a guardare l'amata allo specchio, maledicendosi per la sua debolezza e incolpandosi per non poterla salvare, l'incontro con Gaston quindi lo sorprende. I due non si erano lasciati nel migliore dei modi, Adam vorrebbe mandare via a calci il cacciatore ma l'ex bestia non ne ha il coraggio, non può rimanere indifferente a quell'uomo che con ostinazione non si arrende e sembra disposto quasi a congelarsi a morte, un pazzo che vuole ottenere il perdono della coppia ed è pronto a morire per ottenerlo. Ed è proprio da questo momento che inizia il nostro libro e la convivenza tra i due uomini, Gaston decide di rimanere al castello per aiutare Adam, promettendo di aiutarlo a salvare Belle. Da questa convivenza "forzata"i due uomini si avvicineranno con non poca diffidenza, iniziando a capire se stessi e i propri sentimenti. La storia è molto originale, ho apprezzato quest'idea nonostante la diffidenza iniziale, non sono rari ormai i re-telling delle fiabe famose e quella della Bella e la Bestia è una delle più quotate, soprattutto in campo erotico è però raro vedere un vero e proprio sequel della storia e soprattutto vedere l'accoppiata Bestia/Gaston, una coppia senza dubbio originale. Ho quindi apprezzato moltissimo la scelta dell'autore che riesce finalmente ad inventare qualcosa di nuovo e mai visto. Ovviamente il racconto non è molto lungo, un centinaio di pagine di conseguenza molti elementi sono lasciati al caso, non capiamo perchè Belle è impazzita, avrei voluto un capitolo di flashback in cui ci veniva spiegato almeno il perchè, l'idea che la giovane sia impazzita di colpo o che fosse già pazza... beh... non regge molto, il rapporto tra i due uomini è più fisico, sessuale e con pizzico di Bdsm vista la natura dominante di Adam e anche alla fine la confessione è affrettata, ok che i due hanno dovuto lottare insieme per salvarsi da Belle e hanno vissuto insieme per giorni e giorni condividendo pure il letto però... passare dal sesso all'amore in un secondo con un Gaston folle d'amore e da diabete, senza neanche un momento romantico o dolcetto PRIMA... meh, non ci vengono presentati i vecchi personaggi, sarebbe stato bello rincontrare almeno Lumiere o almeno un personaggio a parte, anche nuovo per dare qualcosa in più, alla fine diciamo che tutto ruota attorno a Gaston e Adam e alle loro avventure per lo più sessuali ad un certo punto del racconto con un piccolo intervento di Belle sul finale, intervento che si conclude in modo piuttosto affrettato e poco soddisfacente a mio avviso, avrei preferito un altro epilogo, magari un happy ending anche per la ragazza, scoprire che magari era impazzita per aver letto un libro maledetto, avrei voluto che grazie all'affetto di Adam e l'amicizia di Gaston fosse riuscita a salvarsi per poi mettersi da parte e permettere all'amato di essere felice con l'uomo di cui si è innamorato, magari decidendo di andarsene o perchè no, trasformare un'ala del castello in Biblioteca, lavorando insieme all'ex fidanzato e amico per spingere i bambini ad amare i libri o qualcosa del genere, magari decidere di dare un figlio alla Bestia e a Gaston, decidendo di crescere un bimbo e formare una famiglia allargata, un bel e vissero tutti felici e contenti e invece... è stato tutto fin troppo rapido e in un certo senso triste e... mi ha lasciato un po' l'amore in bocca. Rimane in ogni caso una lettura leggera e con un pizzico di erotismo che non guasta mai, se siete fan della storia originale e vi stava particolarmente sulle palle la protagonista... qui avrete una bella e sexy rivincita (muhahaha) una novella leggera, che si può fare benissimo finire in una giornata non essendo troppo complicata e piuttosto breve e perfetta per staccare la spina 

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review 2019-01-15 01:43
Perfect
If Beale Street Could Talk - James Baldwin

If Beale Street Could Talk is sublime. For those who saw the movie, not everything in the novel stays the same, there are some scenes that I assume were cut for time. I thought that the way this ended was pretty perfect though.

 

This book is told from the POV of 18 year old Tish. She is dealing with the effects of her fiancee Fonny being locked up after he was accused of rape. You think that this would be simple until you read the long winding road that led them to this point. 

 

Tish's voice in this story is strong. Through her we get to see her first look at Fonny when they were kids and when they became something more. You get her frustration with how things are right now. And you get how she loves him. More than that, you get to see how Tish's family loves her. Her mother, father, and sister end up being Fonny's family too. 

We also get a look at Fonny's family and his two sisters, mother, and father. There could have been a whole other book about them. Every one that appears in this book is fully developed though. I don't know how long it has been that I read something that I could say well that was great, this person is great, and I can see this person in my head. 

Baldwin doesn't tell this story in a linear fashion, but it works. We go from the past (when Tish and Fonny met) her remembering the first time they went to church, and then back in the present with her telling her family that she is pregnant. And then we jump back again to see how happy Tish and Fonny were before they had a night that changed everything. The writing isn't lyrical. It is raw and in your face. 

 

“Tish,” she said, “when we was first brought here, the white man he didn’t give us no preachers to say words over us before we had our babies. And you and Fonny be together right now, married or not, wasn’t for that same damn white man. So, let me tell you what you got to do. You got to think about that baby. You got to hold on to that baby, don’t care what else happens or don’t happen. You got to do that.

 

“Unbow your head, sister,” she said, and raised her glass and touched mine. “Save the children,” she said, very quietly, and drained her glass.

 

That baby was our baby, it was on its way, my father’s great hand on my belly held it and warmed it: in spite of all that hung above our heads, that child was promised safety.

 

“I don’t know,” Frank said, “how God expects a man to act when his son is in trouble. Your God crucified His son and was probably glad to get rid of him, but I ain’t like that. I ain’t hardly going out in the street and kiss the first white cop I see. But I’ll be a very loving motherfucker the day my son walks out of that hellhole, free. I’ll be a loving motherfucker when I hold my son’s head between my hands again, and look into his eyes. Oh! I’ll be full of love, that day!”

 

The flow of this book was perfect. At times I was smiling, in tears, or full of despair, or hope. Baldwin puts you through the ringer. You want Tish and Fonny to have a different end to their story, but we all know what the end is going to be, what is has to be when you are talking about two black kids in love in the 1970s in America. Heck, have things changed? Baldwin shows you colorism, racism, sexism, police brutality, and one wonders have we come far enough? 

 

The setting of If Beale Street Could Talk is New York in the 1970s. You get to see how hard it was/is for a black man and a black woman at that time. 

 

The ending is left with us waiting for a new life even though we know that the life that Tish wanted is now gone. 

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review 2019-01-14 15:54
Book Review of Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth by Brooklyn James
Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family's Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth - Brooklyn James

What the hell happened?

 

Not exactly the question one might expect from a postpartum nurse, it echoed in my mind incessantly after birth. Induction, intervention, ultimately cesarean were nothing new to me…until I was the one atop an operating room table birthing my firstborn through an incision in my uterus.

 

Brooklyn James grapples with her medicalized birth as she undergoes several unexpected health issues—fallout from a medically unnecessary cesarean, secondary infertility, miscarriage. While navigating the work and pleasure of new motherhood, there is also much shock, anger, and disenchantment over birth’s betrayal for her to work through. James finally identifies the root of her struggle: she was not prepared for the birth she might have envisioned. So then begins her exploration of all that is and all that can be in birth. The process leads her to a long overdue conversation with her instinct and her body in an attempt to surrender to, trust in, and accept the inherent wisdom within.

 

Born in the Bed You Were Made is intimate and penetrating, candid and reflective. It reveals a deeper truth about how disconnected many modern women are from birth. Most of all, it is a celebration of self-discovery found in the most obscure yet obvious, most challenging yet gratifying, role as child bearer and mother.

 

Review 5*

 

This book is fantastic! I am not one who usually reads non-fiction or even memoirs, but having read previous fictional books written by this author, I knew that this book, being more personal, would be an emotional roller coaster ride. It didn't disappoint.

 

The author explores her emotions and thoughts over several events that shaped her ultimate decision of having a home birth. As I am not American, I don't know how the medical insurance companies work as such, but I believe that women have the right to decide how and where they would like to birth their babies. Unfortunately, most insurance companies are run by men. I don't mean to be sexist, but its the truth.

 

I am not a mother myself (and due to my advanced age, I may never have children of my own), but what struck me is how much this author's words touched something inside me that resounded within my inner being. She speaks of the instinctual, primitive brain (the part that handles breathing, and old emotional responses like fear, anger, love and knowing things, perhaps at a genetic level like birthing babies) and how she struggled through going against her instincts for a home birth in her first pregnancy because her insurance company didn't allow it. How this led to her having a Cesaerian that may or may not have been necessary, and later a miscarriage that taught her to trust her body and the genetic knowledge within.

 

The author also explores the role and history of a midwife. I found this aspect of the book interesting and full of words of wisdom, from the author herself, as well as those used by her midwife and the research books the author has used. I highlighted over 70 passages throughout this book that struck a chord within me. I don't usually highlight that many things in books, so that shows how much this book has affected me. Midwives have an important role for women. They act as a library of knowledge for expectant mothers. They also guide women through the hard work of labour and birthing children. They have a unique insight into the primitive brain through observation, and medical training to handle most problems that may arise. Unfortunately, these women have not had an easy ride throughout history. They were highly respected once, but they have lost their place due to vilification (being called witches, flakes and fakes in the not so distant past) and their knowledge depleted.

 

Hospitals and modern medicine have grown, time is short in today's society. Large pharmaceutical companies push for the use of drugs, hospitals don't have enough staff to give adequate one-on-one care for every expectant mother, and there are not enough beds for a natural birth. Hospitals have become factories - get them in and send them out as quickly as possible - and induced births, Cesareans (some necessary, but most unnecessary) have become the norm. This saddens not only me but the author too.

 

It has been an honour and a pleasure going on this author's journey. I wouldn't wish what happened to her happen to anyone else, but her journey is inspirational. I believe that women have the right to a support system like midwives along with obstetrics at a hospital, and the freedom to choose between a more economical home birth or an expensive hospital one. Modern medicine should work in concert with the more traditional methods to ensure a healthy birth experience for both the mother and child.

 

Brooklyn James has written a story that has touched me deeply. I love her writing style, and the flow was excellent. I am now looking forward to reading more of her other books as soon as I can.

 

I highly recommend this book, whether you are planning on having children, already have children and are considering having more, or have had children and they are starting their own families. The author references a few books that she used while pregnant, and these may help other expectant mothers too. - Lynn Worton

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review 2019-01-14 14:27
ARC REVIEW Crucible by James Rollins
 

Crucible (Sigma Force #14) Sigma Force #14, Another hair raising, death defying, action packed, FANTASTIC read from James Rollins. If you haven't read the entire series yet I really recommend it, it's history, science, religion, and action adventure all rolled into one. Another nice thing, IMO, is I don't think you have to read the others to enjoy and follow this one. There are a few things references to a certain person in a past book but nothing to major, and the major characters are all established and there are quite a few characters to keep track of fortunately they are split into two groups, sometimes three, and with the third person POV you follow everyone, and in this books case you even follow the evolution of an AI.

Seichan and Monk's two daughters are missing, Kat is in the hospital barely hanging on, and now Monk, Gray, and their team have to track down a young woman and her AI before an overzealous group that goes back to the time of the Spanish Inquisition get their hands on it and unleash a new kind of hell on the world. Gray and Monk are torn between finding Seichan, who is pregnant with Gray's unborn baby,with Monk's two daughters and once again saving the world but the person who took them wants the AI too so in order to get them back they need the AI. It also helps that they know Seichan and what she's capable of, Monk's daughters couldn't be in better, safer hands even at eight months pregnant she's deadly.

I'm an emotional reader, I will laugh out loud in public at funny parts and I WILL bawl my eyes out if the situation calls for it. The beginning of this book and the end of the book had me in tears, big fat ugly tears. The rest of the time I was at the edge of my seat and holding my breath it was intense. It stands for reason that Rollins is one of my top five favorite authors he delivers, with every single book you get an action packed, emotional, educational, entertaining read. Each new book is my favorite and this is no exception this book wrecked me in all the best ways.   


 

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