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review 2018-09-25 09:54
Catching up
The Earl's Practical Marriage - Louise A... The Earl's Practical Marriage - Louise Allen

There are some flaws here with his attitude and inability to talk to explain that he actually loves her. Yes he needs her help to keep his lands and she wants to find a place for herself. She doesn't realise that she has money and will lose it if she doesn't marry. Life is complicated and the two of them have known each other for a long time but there's an attraction there.

Entertaining but there are times when the petty conflicts could have been solved by more talk.

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review 2018-09-24 19:06
Secrets of a Dysfunctional Family
Secrets of a Happy Marriage - Cathy Kelly

I honestly like most of Cathy Kelly books, but this is my least favorite book that she has published. The main problem is that no one feels very developed. Usually Kelly does a great job juggling multiple characters in a book, but too much was going on with anyone for you to even get settled with anyone. Also, two of the three "leads" sucked. I didn't like the characters of Bess or Jojo. Also Kelly's ultimate message that a widowed man needs to remarry (quite quickly) when he loses his wife since apparently they need a woman to take care of them just made me want to tear my hair out. Apparently women are fine after their husbands die (HUGE FREAKING EYEROLL). Also one wonders if this applies to gay men or just a man and woman? This whole book was problematic as hell.


"Secrets of a Happy Marriage" divulged very little secrets. Instead if just acted like it had these huge eye opening moments about marriages such as men need to be married after losing a wife cause they can't get by without some woman taking care of them. I don't know. I was pretty rageful while reading this book.


This book revolves around three characters. Bess, newly married to widowed Edward. Bess is so happy with Edward and doesn't get why her new stepdaughter (JoJo) hates her. It's not her fault her mother died and her father remarried less than two years after she passed. Bess proceeds to act entitled and whiny through this whole freaking book, so enjoy that. I think my last little bit of patience with her was when she literally cursed out Jojo and acted as if she was a monster that should not darken their doors again. Edward rightfully found his spine. However, these two never discuss anything and it was just frustrating to read. 


Jojo is reeling from her mother's death, her father's fast second marriage, and also her suffering multiple miscarriages. She is pulling away from family and friends and can't seem to get a handle on her grief. I at times thought that Jojo was acting impossible with regards to Bess, but I get why she was so angry. I can't imagine my mom or dad getting married a year plus after the other one died and being okay with it. I was also sick of people acting like Jojo just didn't get that men need to move on after losing a spouse. It just made it seem as if her father was heartless and clueless.

Cari had the best storyline. She was jilted at the altar and since has thrown herself into work and avoiding men. After getting shafted at her job (she's an editor) she meets a new guy who seems to be everything she has wanted and avoided. Cari and her mom and dad were the best. Plus I loved her whole work storyline and how that was resolved. Kelly paints Cari as competent at her job and happy with her house though at times wanting more. If we had just stayed with her, things would have been better.

The book also includes perspectives from Edward, Edward's son (and Jojo's brother) and Bess's daughter. They honestly were not needed and took me out of the book a bit. There was no need to cram so many characters in.


The writing was not very tight in this one. I found some typos in my Kindle copy of this book and also a few times wondered if I had misread something. Seems to be an issue based on comments in other reviews I have seen.

The flow was awful too. The book drags until the end and then we spring forward to an ending. 

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text 2018-09-23 00:45
Reading progress update: I've listened to 1025 out of 1350 minutes.
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith,Robert Glenister


Well, good for you, Robin.  This was long overdue.  I hope this time you're going to really go through with it.

(spoiler show)
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review 2018-09-01 17:32
Intrigue, danger, still love finds a way, hard to stop reading.
The Marriage Paradox - Noelle Greene

This story was one bumpy messy ride. Olivia was a wonderful character. I liked her strength and her innocence, which never wavered as things changed around her. Markus was a bit of a prick to start but as I got to know him along with Olivia my opinion changed. Despite all the violence, political intrigue, counter intelligence, I enjoyed the story and found it hard to stop reading. There were a few tears near the end as well as a heavy sigh of relief. I recommend this story.

I received a copy of this story through Candid Book Reviews, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-08-25 23:17
Audio version
An American Marriage - Tayari Jones

This is a review of the audio edition and deals with an issue that may only apply to the audio edition.


                There are times when I think an audio book is, in fact, superior, to the written form.  For instance, Lincoln at the Bardo.  If I had read that, having brought it thinking it was a novel, I pretty sure I would have been frustrated at the format.  But the audio book, with all those voice actors – that worked for me.  My reaction to this book is heavily influenced by the structure of the audio performances.  Both Mr. Crisden and Ms. Davis gave stellar performances, and it wouldn’t surprise if they get nominated for awards.  The book itself, in terms of writing, is powerful.  The subject matter timely – how the justice systems harms more than those who are unjustly accused, in large part, because of the color of their skin.  Roy, one of the men who tells part of the story, is married to Celestial.  Not quite newlyweds, but the first brush is still on the fruit, when he gets falsely accused of rape, found guilty, sentenced, and finally released after five years when the injustice of the system was brought to light.  What happens to the marriage in that five-year span and once Roy gets out is the subject matter of the book.  In addition, to the examination of “justice” on a family, Jones also looks at how gender roles play into that effect.


                Jones deserves much credit because it is a bit hard to like Roy.  You can feel sorry for him, you can admit the injustice and cruelty of what happened to him.  Yet, even before his injustice, he doesn’t quite see Celestial as hers, and not his.  But the reader shouldn’t lose sight of his stepping out on his marriage with Celestial.  No, I’m not talking about what happens when he leaves jail, but before.  Roy never directly says he physically cheated, but he mentions that 99% of the time he didn’t got beyond flirting (so 1% of the time he did, is the inference), and he brought lingerie for another woman.  Maybe Celestial didn’t care if it was just sex, maybe she did.  The listener doesn’t know.

                And that’s the problem with the audio version.


                The story is told via three viewpoints – Roy, Andre (Celestial’s oldest friend and, later, her partner), and Celestial.  Part of the story is told though letters that Roy and Celestial send each other, most notably when Roy is in jail.  When those letters are read, the listener hears Celestial via Roy’ voice or his view of her voice.  IN other words, Crisden’s voice (or his voice trying to do a woman’s) instead of Eisa Davis’.


                Which means, this story of a marriage, is largely told by Roy and Andre – Celestial has the smallest voice in the whole audio book.


                Now, this might be intentional.  Look at the symbolism of her name, for instance.  Roy is the one that things happen to, the one who loses the most, so it is understandable that it is his story.  But like all of us, Roy is not a 100% reliable narrator.  Look, I am only talking how we all unreliable narrators whether or not we knowingly are. 


                The thing is, if this is a story about a marriage, then we need Celestial’s voice. IN her own voice.  Being read Celestial’s letters in the voice of Roy makes her too removed from the reader.  The inflection and emphasis on certain things change.  Now, this could be Jones’ intention.  It really could be.  And if it is, it works really well.  But in an audio book it is immensely annoying because the listener gets use to fake Celestial voice as opposed to real Celestial voice.  This is incredibly jarring.  So, jarring.


                And fake Celestial’s voice is so whiny.


                And then Roy, understandably so, frames things in a way that rubs you the wrong way (talking credit, in part, for Celestial’s store). 


                But the loss of a marriage, whether or not that marriage would have worked, is such a palpable feeling as well as the sense of relief that characters like Andre feel because it didn’t happen to them.  The pressures that are brought on Celestial because she is a black woman married to a black man who has been unjustly locked up are also dealt with. 


                It is a really a beautifully written and thought-provoking book.

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