logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: celebrity-culture
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-04-19 20:09
An engaging and easy read for those who love a bit of scandal.
Hollywood's Dark History. Silver Screen Scandals - Matt MacNabb

I thank Rosie Croft from Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review. This is the second book I’ve read by MacNabb (I read and reviewed A Secret History of Brands: The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love a while back and enjoyed it, and I looked forward to this book, as it’s on a topic I’ve always been interested in.

I found this book well suited to the circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment (I’m writing this review in the middle of our confinement due to COVID-19, in case somebody comes across it at some point in the future and wonders what I was talking about). It’s written in an straightforward and easy-to-reads style; it deals with a topic that a lot of people find interesting (not only the lives of film stars and directors in general but their scandals, in particular); it contains an introduction and thirteen distinct chapters, each one dedicated to a different star, so it does not require sustained attention, and it can be dipped into according to the interest or the mood of the reader. The book also includes beautiful black and white pictures (some that I’d never seen before) and a bibliography (with books, websites, articles, and even documentaries). Although many of the stars won’t be familiar to the younger generation (there is a heavy focus on actors, actresses, and directors from early Hollywood), I don’t think that will make the book less attractive. The author manages to bring to life an era in the history of cinema that many people know more through the movies and documentaries than through the actual films of the period, but I am sure many readers will be inspired to do more research and try to find more information about the protagonists and the time.

Personally, I had heard about quite a few of the people mentioned, and in some cases I had read or watched documentaries that contained more detailed information than that available in this volume, but others were new to me. As for others, I knew the people involved (Errol Flynn was one of my father’s favourite actors, and I’ve watched and enjoyed many of his movies in glorious technicolour), but I didn’t know much about the scandals they became entangled in. I don’t think this is a book I’d recommend to experts in Hollywood (especially old Hollywood) personalities, as they are bound to know everything contained in it and more, but it’s a good entry book for people interested in the topic but not very knowledgeable, or for somebody looking for a good read and happy to find out more about a historical period and a period in the history of cinema that helped create the cult of stars, and also about the role of the press in building them up or destroying them that we’re so familiar with to this day.

The chapters, that don’t follow a strict chronological order, are dedicated to: Evelyn Nesbitt, Thelma Todd, Jean Harlow, Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, Errol Flynn, Lana Turner, William Desmond Taylor, Joan Crawford, Barbara LaMarr, Mabel Normand, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, and Clara Bow. Some are more familiar than others, but overall, they provide an interesting array and sample of some of the events and scandals that have plagued Hollywood from the beginning. It’s impossible not to notice that many of the subjects of the book (not all, but a significant proportion) had suffered pretty traumatic childhoods, being brought up in pretty desperate circumstances, and sometimes subject to terrible abuse. It’s sad to think that after all their efforts to make a better living for themselves, some ended up either the perpetrators (alleged in most cases) or victims of violence, abuse, or crime in later life, and very few managed to lead a happy life. Although the book does not delve into the gore or the extremely salacious details, it does include enough information to make it not suitable for young children.

This is a book I’d recommend to people who enjoy reading about Old Hollywood, scandals, and stars, but haven’t read extensively on it, and also to people looking for a source of information about the era that is easy to read and entertaining, but offers an interesting insight into what life was like for the big stars of the era (and what falling from grace was like). An engaging and easy read and a good entry level for people looking for an introduction to the beginning of film star culture.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-10-29 20:15
BLOG TOUR POST: LIFESTYLES OF GODS & MONSTERS by Emily Roberson
Lifestyles of Gods & Monsters - Emily Roberson

 

 So I took a break from my regularly scheduled October menu of horror reading and read LIFESTYLES OF GODS & MONSTERS for this blog tour, and it was like stepping into an alternate reality. It's a YA fantasy, but it almost defies categorization because of how it brings the old world into the present and breathes new life into ancient myth. 

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Author: Emily Roberson

Pub. Date: October 22, 2019

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 352

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonKindleB&NiBooksKoboTBD

 

Sixteen-year-old Ariadne’s whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family’s entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won.

 

When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn’t just endanger her family’s empire―the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving.

 

Ariadne’s every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?

 

MY REVIEW

 

This is an astoundingly clever mash-up of Greek mythology, celebrity culture (think 'Keeping Up with The Kardashians'), and the Hunger Games; altogether the story of Ariadne and Theseus is told, where the gods are under the lens 24/7 just like Khloe and Kim, and ratings are always king. The monster is the Minotaur, Ariadne's brother, a tragic character, who is supposed to be killed by whoever solves the maze. Ariadne is caught between helping her new-found love or helping her family, with everything having been written by the gods.

Life's tricky when your dad is King of Crete.

 

It's kind of nauseating to read about Greek gods and goddesses caught up in the trappings of modern life, of cell phones, celebrity gossip, and social media, BUT its also really fun. Suspend your disbelief for a little while and imagine Ariadne with an iPhone. She is also a strong heroine in this novel who carries the whole storyline, making you root for her the whole way through.

 

Author Roberson is making Greek myth accessible for a newer generation at the same time questioning the way we value celebrity; she has written something decidedly clever and unique. Her writing is provocative without being too obvious, fand it's both funny and intelligent.

Purists may have a hard time with a book like this but it's hard not to get caught up in the idea of it. If you liked the Hunger Games, like Greek myths and can see the funny side of celebrity culture, give this is a go.

 

ABOUT EMILY

EMILY ROBERSON is the author of LIFESTYLES OF GODS & MONSTERS (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2019). She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

Emily has been a bookseller in Little Rock, a newspaper reporter in Vicksburg, a marketing manager in Boston, and a writer in Chapel Hill and Dallas. She graduated from Brown University and has a master’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her husband, three sons and no pets.

 

You can find her on the web on instagram @robersonemilym and on twitter @RobersonEmily.

Sign up for Emily's newsletter here if you would like book news and other updates. 

Image by: Laura Kellerman photography

 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest| Goodreads

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!

3 winners will receive finished copies of LIFESTYLES OF GODS & MONSTERS, US only.

ENTER HERE!

 

*Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for this blog tour!

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/42642047
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-06-13 10:29
An American-Latina Cinderella story and a whirlwind soap opera
The Perfect Date - Holly L Lorincz,Evelyn Lozada

I thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s (MacMillan) for providing me an early ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Although I don’t normally look at the reviews of a book in detail before I read it (I do to decide if I’m interested in reading the book or not, but I don’t want to spoil my enjoyment), because I update my current reading on several book sites, I can’t help but see what the general ratings for the book I’m about to start reading look like. Let me tell you I was alarmed when I saw how many 1 star reviews this book had. I was even more concerned because, based on the description, I had agreed to participate in a Blog tour, and I was worried about having made a serious mistake and having to vow out of it. Luckily, I enjoyed the book (yes, it’s far from perfect, but I wasn’t expecting perfection), and I wonder if having read the reviews and getting a clear idea of what had upset other readers didn’t prepare me for what was to come and helped me not go into it with false expectations.

The cover, I think, can make people expect a “sweet” or “cute” romance. Well, that, it is not. The description hints at the personality of Angel (perhaps more accurately than that of Duke, whom many readers didn’t like at all), but readers might have expected a more standard romance, where the romantic side of things is the main story. I agree with the readers who said this novel has a lot of “drama”. Oh, yes, it does. It is like a melodrama on steroids, rough around the edges, and it feels like a fairly extreme soap opera. People wear their hearts (and rage) on their sleeves, they don’t do stiff-upper-lip or measured emotions, and they throw themselves headlong into life. It might be because I’m Spanish and we are supposed to be “red-blooded” (what other colour our blood would be, I have no idea), “passionate”, and “hot tempered” and those attributes (I don’t think they are always helpful, but I refuse to call them defects) are also expected of Latinos in general, and because I’ve watched and enjoyed Central and South-American soap operas, but I did like the oomph of Angel, the main character, even if she was not always consistent (but hey, I’ve never found characters in romantic novels or chick-lit entirely consistent). In some ways, her part of the story has strong elements of women’s fiction, even if the style of writing is different. A young Puerto-Rican woman, a single mother from a young age, she’s had to fight against the odds to try to make a living for herself and her little boy, Jose, who unfortunately suffers from asthma. Working two jobs at the same time, studying all hours to get her nursing qualification, and relying on her friend Gabriela, the hairdresser with a heart of gold (the interaction between the women sometimes made me think of Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes, minus the Southern gentility), being subject to a #metoo kind of situation (well, more than one), she is pushed and pulled in all directions but tries to remain strong and keep her moral compass. Yes, she loses her cool every so often, but I cheered her on more than once.

Hers is a Cinderella story, indeed, one in a more soap operatic style than a gentle fairy tale (not that fairy tales are truly gentle), with over the top villains who seem to be villains just because they are (no justification or exploration of the baddies. In olden times, I’m sure one of them would have worn a big moustache he’d twirl, and the other one would have been a proper witch), and where Cinderella is far from the passive and pretty young girl just waiting for the prince to come rescue her (she actually kicks him out more than once). The love interest, Caleb, “The Duke”, has his own Cinderella story, as they share in their humble origins (although he is African-American rather than Puerto-Rican), but he’s now living the aftermath of the Cinderella story, and realising that the people who surround him are not true friends, and money cannot buy the really important things. Many readers say he is not likeable because he thinks only of himself (well, yes, mostly, although he shows concern for Angel’s boy, puts his own career at risk for him, and he is also outraged when he reads about the lack of appropriate asthma treatment for children from diverse ethnic background). We do learn about his circumstances, he is put through the wringer in the novel, and his character bears some resemblance to the rakes readers of Georgian and Victorian literature are so fond of. (Perhaps he lacks some of the charm, but that might be in part because we see him from his own point of view at times, rather than what tends to happens with the rogues, who tend to remain attractive, mysterious and dangerous men, whose motivations we know little about). He helps save the day in the end, and, although he will not rate among my favourite male protagonists, he isn’t the worst either.

The book includes many side-stories —I’ve mentioned the issue of the lack of treatments for Jose, and the novel makes a serious point about the lack of investment in research, by the pharmaceutical companies, of appropriate treatment for diverse populations. Yes, we are not all young white males and our bodies do not respond the same as theirs to the medication; and we also have difficult family relations, grief, sexual harassment, alcohol and drug abuse… — and it is set in the world of sports (baseball), and of celebrity culture. Considering Lozada’s credentials, I am not surprised she has a lot to say on the subject, and the baseball players’ wives (a bit like the footballers’ wives in other countries) interactions rang true. There are comedic moments, although they are far from subtle and some people might not find them funny, but if you let yourself go along for the ride and get into the spirit of it, this is a fun read, touching and inspiring as well.

The book is narrated in the third-person, alternating the points of view of Angel and The Duke. As I said, I read an early ARC copy of the novel, and I noticed readers complained about there not being a clear distinction between the one point of view and the other, but expect this will have been corrected in the final version of the novel, as will, I hope, some awkward Spanish phrasing at the beginning of the book.

Although this is not a standard romantic novel, the ending does live up to the genre (wish-fulfilment and all) and yes, I enjoyed it. If you’re easily offended or are looking for a genteel and/or gentle romance, this is not the book for you. I’d recommend reading through the sample and being prepared for a full-on whirlwind soap, that stretches the limits of credibility (and for some, perhaps, of good taste), and mixes a lot of other genres. If all that doesn’t scare you, give it a go! It will be a wild ride!

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-02-25 00:00
Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture
Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture - Patrick Galbraith,Jason Karlin The subject is very interesting if you are fan of J-pop or J-culture, but the way it was presented -the way it was written- made it hard to enjoy it at full. It seems like this was the thesis of the author, with lots of quotations from other authors, lots of notes and a conclusion at the end of each chapter. There are plenty of boring facts in full detail. As much curious as I am for virtual idols and old past idols and the gay community rooting for X idol, it dragged a bit. Honestly I am not a fan of girl idols, like AKB48 but I found very interesting the fact that a virtual idol with parts of the AKB48. I did not read it before (since I don't follow the group) and I was surprised and a little bit in awe.

Mostly I've read this for the Johnnys chapter, which was hilarious. Almost all the facts are based on Arashi (90%) and SMAP (10%). The little conversation transcribed between Nino and Ohno was so amusing. I knew they love to fanservice, but I wasn't aware that it was so much. It cracked me up.

So basically this book tells that idols are normal people without a talent (dancing nor singing nor acting) but they have that "something" that is, merely, charisma. We fans know that they are hopeless and we still love them. Since I am into J&A I could relate to most of the text: buying CD/DVD to support the idol, cheering for them even if they can't sing (Nakai), loving their CM and thinking "they are totally like that". It is funny.

Also funny and so over-the-top is how far some fans will go for their idols. As in, buying 10, 20 CDs to make them on the Top Charts! Buying 10, 20 CDs to shake their hands! Now I am constantly wondering if XX idol, just because they are on the top, means they are popular.... Is Arashi really that popular? Or are there enough crazy fans that buy and buy their stuff so their sales numbers are high? I wonder.

If you are a fan, read it. Most facts maybe will sound familiar, since as a fan, you are in that environment. In spite of the bad presentation, it was an interesting book. Some chapters. Others I would have skimmed (I kinda did, the last chapter ^_^)
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
video 2014-05-07 05:10

Must Watch! 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?