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review 2020-08-25 21:20
Madame President by Helene Cooper
Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Helene Cooper

I picked this book up primarily because I loved the author’s memoir, The House at Sugar Beach, about growing up in Liberia until political instability and terror forced her family to leave. This book, though, is a biography of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia from 2006 to 2018 and the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa. It’s a good biography, readable and engaging as all the best journalistic work is, and certainly informative though it lacks the humor and personal touch of Cooper’s memoir.

About the first quarter of this relatively short biography (290 pages) covers the first approximately 50 years of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s life, spending a few pages on her childhood before moving on to her marriage, higher education, subsequent divorce from her abusive husband (even though it meant no longer being able to raise most of their children), and her career as a financial bureaucrat. The second quarter focuses more on Liberia’s civil war and the years of coups and atrocities. Johnson Sirleaf was absent from Liberia for much of this time working for financial institutions abroad, but the reader needs to understand something of what was happening in the country to put her presidency in context. Finally, the last half covers her elections and presidency, though the book ends in 2015 and was published in 2017, before she actually left office.

The book is highly readable and offers a lot of explanation to readers who may not know anything about Liberia; Cooper is clearly adept at bridging two cultures. It is an admiring biography, and as far as I can tell an authorized one—Johnson Sirleaf allowed Cooper to follow her around and was interviewed for the book, though Cooper didn’t share her drafts—but Cooper also highlights areas where Johnson Sirleaf made poor or questionable choices. I wasn’t quite sure what to think about all her female supporters who stole their adult sons’ voter IDs to prevent them from voting for her clearly unqualified male opponent, for instance—interestingly to me, Liberian women seemed far more likely to vote for a candidate because of her gender than their American counterparts. But I was glad to see Cooper really dig into Johnson Sirleaf’s achievements in office: the chapter about how she managed to persuade other governments, multinational institutions and private companies to forgive Liberia’s $4.7 billion debt is fantastic and highlights a huge accomplishment that few others could possibly have achieved.

Meanwhile, other reviewers have mentioned that the book deals with some dark subject matter around Liberia’s civil war, and this is true though it isn’t the primary focus of the book. The last 35 pages mostly focus on the Ebola pandemic, which was interesting to read during another pandemic: there was a lot of initial denial around Ebola too, though once people accepted that it was real they seemed to do a good job of taking necessary precautions to wipe it out.

Ultimately, there’s a lot of good information in this book, but there’s more distance from its subject than I would have expected in a semi-authorized biography of someone who’s still alive: I didn’t get much sense of Johnson Sirleaf’s personality, what makes her tick, how the people close to her view her, etc. Maybe she didn’t want her personal life in a book, her family didn’t want to share, and Cooper decided to respect their wishes—hard to say. But while I still blew through the book in just a few days, I think I would have liked it even better with more personality. Cooper credits several people in the acknowledgments with making her ditch her “flip tone” and I wound up wishing she’d kept it. There are a few humorous bits, which were welcome.

But I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject, and Johnson Sirleaf is without doubt a tough and impressive woman, though (like everybody else) imperfect. Those who would like a more personal, in-depth and at times humorous story (with some overlapping subject matter) should check out the author’s memoir.

Only time will tell how to interpret events after the end of this book: Johnson Sirleaf stepped down in 2018, allowing for Liberia’s first peaceful transition of power in decades, but then the winner of that election was George Weah (the soccer player), whose vice president is Jewel Taylor (ex-wife of Charles Taylor, the war criminal). Hmm. I hope Cooper will keep on writing books about Liberia; I for one will be happy to keep reading them.

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quote 2020-06-17 02:16
“I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me. If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he'd never fight for me if it came down to it.
What woman would ever choose somebody like that?”
The Chase - Elle Kennedy

~~ The Chase by Elle Kennedy

(Briar U, Book #1)

 

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review 2020-06-13 06:47
Solid
The Dare - Elle Kennedy

This is book #4, in the Briar U series.  This can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader understanding, and to avoid spoiler, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Conor was a typical party guy who loved being a player.  Lately he has found himself being played.  Girls just want to get with him to brag that they caught a hockey player.  He is doubting a lot of things lately.

 

Taylor is being dared yet again by the Sorority Sister who still hates her.  She has just one plan - be honest with Conor on what is going on and hope for the best.  What does she have to lose?  

 

The attraction between the lead characters is obvious right from the start.  I was eagerly reading each page, and not even wanting to stop to eat.  This series has been sexy and fun from the first book! In my opinion, this is the best book yet.  I loved the banter, so edgy and clever.  I wish my college years had these two in it.  I give this read a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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text 2020-06-12 08:10
Excerpt Reveal - The Dare

 

 

 

THE DARE

Get ready for another binge-worthy romance from New York Times bestselling author Elle Kennedy!

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

 

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

 

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy. 

 

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes. 

 

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

 

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

 

The Dare purchase links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/TDrAmz

Apple: https://geni.us/TDrAp

Kobo: https://geni.us/TDrKobo

Nook: https://geni.us/TDrNook



 

“Thank you,” she breathes the moment we’re alone.

 

“No problem. Mind if I make myself comfortable?”

 

“Um, yeah. I mean, no. I don’t mind. Sit if you want. Or—wow, okay, you’re lying down.”

 

I grin at her visible nervousness. It’s cute. While I stretch out my six-foot-two frame amid the stuffed animals and decorative pillows on the bed, she remains the startled rabbit plastered against the door and breathing heavily.

 

“Gotta be honest,” I tell her, entwining my hands behind my head, “I’ve never seen a girl so unhappy to be locked in a bedroom with me.”

 

This has the desired effect of loosening her shoulders and even eliciting a shy smile. “I have no doubt.”

 

“I’m Conor, by the way.”

 

She rolls her eyes. “Yeah, I know.”

 

“What’s the eyeroll for?” I ask, playing wounded.

 

“No, sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it. Just, I know who you are. You’re, like, campus famous.”

 

The more I watch her, hands braced at her sides against the door, one knee bent, dirty-blonde hair a little messy and draped over one shoulder, I can’t help picturing myself holding her arms above her head while I explore her body with my mouth. She’s got very kissable skin. 

 

“Taylor Marsh,” she blurts out, and I realize I don’t know how long we were silent until then.

 

I scoot to the far side of the bed and put a pillow beside me as a divider. “Come on. If we’re going to be in here awhile, let’s at least make friends.”

 

Taylor laughs out a breath and with it she releases a bit more tension. She’s got a nice smile. Bright, warm. It takes a bit more coaxing, however, to get her on the bed.

 

“This isn’t like a move,” she tells me, lining up stuffed animal guards to patrol the pillow wall between us. “I’m not some sort of weirdo who tricks men into getting in bed with her and then mauls them.”

 

“Sure.” I nod with mock seriousness. “But a little mauling would be okay.”

 

 

Other Links:

 

Briar U series: https://geni.us/BriarU

Elle’s Newsletter sign-up: http://geni.us/EKNL

Blogger Newsletter sign-up: http://geni.us/EKBlog

 

 

 

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text 2020-04-01 17:38
January wrap-up February
Regretting You - Colleen Hoover
Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 2 by Hatori, Bisco (2005) Paperback - Bisco Hatori
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling
Crown of Midnight - Sarah J. Maas
Epic - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen
Heartstopper volume 3 - Alice Oseman
Ouran high school host club volume 3 - Bisco Hatori
Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 4 by Bisco Hatori (2006-01-03) - Bisco Hatori
Ouran high school host club volume 5 - Bisco Hatori

Jan fav regretting you

 

Feb heartstopper vol 3

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