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review 2017-07-25 17:49
Review: The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray
The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom (Dreamspun Desires Book 14) - Kate McMurray

It was a decent, if lackluster category romance. The title is misleading; Archimedes Katsaros is most assuredly not a tycoon, hence his marriage to Ondrej in order to prop up his family business. The marriage of convenience trope in contemporary romance is hard to get right, and this book doesn't really make itself an exception.

 

Archimedes Katsaros inherited a failing real estate firm after the death of his father eight months ago. Although Archie has worked at the firm for a number of years prior to his father's death, the state of the financial mess was a surprise to Archie (who has an MBA from NYU). Seems Archie wasn't paying that close of attention to what Dad was investing in; I mean, a NYC real estate firm is pretty easy to make money from. Turns out Dad had invested a lot, and therefore lost a shit ton, of money in Greek banking and real estate. Archie isn't much better at being a businessman himself.

 

Enter the rescue party, in the form of a summer intern from the Czech Republic named Ondrej. Ondrej's work visa is running out and he hasn't found "suitable" employment after his internship was over. Ondrej did not look hard enough nor really gave much thought to actively look for work; he was living on inherited money he invested and was happy to spend his days at his leisure. However, since he wasn't employed, he needed a way to stay in the country. So a marriage to Archie was devised, allowing him to apply for a green card and in return, give Archie needed funds to keep the company afloat.

 

There was a lot of sex and a lot of inner monologues about feelings and the possibility of being caught as green card marriage frauds. A lot of repetition, a lot of keeping up appearances as wealthy men so as to attract new money/business, but really no chemistry. I think there was more chemistry with Archie and the new stadium deal than with Ondrej. Ondrej was sweet and smart but LAZY as hell; Archie was to afraid of looking bad to make good business sense. The ending was fine; I like the vow renewal ceremony and party as a way of saying "fuck you" to the immigration office who decided their case HAD TO BE investigated NO MATTER WHAT. But this story wasn't anything special.

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review 2017-07-25 17:13
Review: A Sultry Love Song (The Gentlemen of Queen City #3) by Kianna Alexander
A Sultry Love Song (The Gentlemen of Queen City) - Kianna Alexander

A quick read considering it was a slow burn. Being a category, there is insta-lust, then a bunch of sex, the big crisis that turns into the shortest break up ever, and the making up and getting married. I thought that this was a better than average story, because the author did two things to mix it up the formula.

 

1. The heroine owned a business that is usually reserved for heroes. Joi is co-owner of Citadel, a security firm that handles both physical and cyber security for their clients. Her co-owner runs the cyber part of the business, Joi is best at physical part. They hire prior law enforcement and military women. Joi is a hands-on boss and you see her really working to make her business a success. There was no middle of day manicure session that a lot of professional heroines seem to do.

 

2. This is an interracial romance with both partners being POC. Marco is from Limon, Costa Rica, has friends he is close to in both countries, and is working as branch manager for his buddy's expanding bank firm. Joi is a black woman with friends and family of her own, plus she is good to her employees. There is no isolated loner hero/heroine nonsense. There were scenes with the heroine hanging with her crew and the hero hanging with his without the other being present or needing to be there. No clingy quasi-adults here.

 

The story line meandered a bit until the big crisis, which was actually realistic and not a flimsy excuse to move the story to warm Costa Rica from cold North Carolina. The break up was less realistic, because Joi could have calmed down and they could have hashed the conflict out pretty much then. I just felt that Joi overreacted to a nothing burger. The make up was a little over the top, but I felt that Joi and Marco deserved a little over the top since the story was such a slow burner.

 

 

 

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review 2017-07-25 16:45
Review: The Complete Persoplis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi

I needed to fill in the "book about/by an immigrant or refugee" prompt on the Pop Sugar challenge, so I picked up the combined version of Persepolis I and II. I have been meaning to read this for a long time, but just never got around to it. I am so glad I made the time to read it this weekend - although it is a memoir of coming of age in Iran, it also reads as a history lesson about a part of the world that is often used by political foes inside and outside the country but is little understood.

 

Satrapi starts the first volume talking about the demonstrations and protests against the Shah. Her parents were educated upper/middle-class and politically active. Surprisingly, they and their friends would have interesting cultural and political discussions in front of, and involved, Marjane (who was maybe 8 or 9 at the time). Marjane asked a lot of questions in this early section so that the reader can understand this chaotic time. Her parents don't allow her to publicly protest with them, but she does find her way to a couple of protests, one that turned violent. Then the Shah was removed and the Islamic Revolution came about, with the in-between time a time of hope but also of uncertainty. Her parents were now protesting the Revolution, so home was for the most part a safe haven. That safe haven was put to the test often by the arrival of the Iran-Iraq war. After a few years and countless bombings, Marjane's parents send her to Austria to finish schooling and stay safe. Man, I hope history teachers use this first volume to teach what happened. There was even a mention of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

 

Life in Austria as a war refugee was tough for Marjane. This part of the book dragged a lot; suffice to say, without her parents intelligence or thought provoking discussions, Marjane drifted a lot. She basically did a shit ton of drugs (pot, LSD mostly) and lusted/loved after men who were assholes. She moved from flat to flat, met a lot of white people who were pretty shallow or hypocrites. Luckily, her drug addiction (her words, not mine) did not prevent her from finishing school with decent grades (she kept her drug taking to the weekends).  Finally after having a mental break down, she went home to Iran.

 

But Iran was not the same after additional years of war. She made it back in time for the cease-fire/truce, but Iran was not the same. The Revolution was still in power, but it was the war that gave them real power and it is why they wanted to keep the war going. The black market was pretty much the only infrastructure intact and running efficiently. Marjane became politically aware again thanks to her parents' influence, but she drifted again without any goals of her own. Her parents wanted her to go on to university, which she did after meeting her long term boyfriend. Her art and her politics evolved into a mature but still fiercely democratic work. However, she chafed under the Islamic rule pertaining to relationships and ended up married to her boyfriend. The marriage was a disaster from the first day, but a new development gave her much more to work with: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the beginning of Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She goes into detail about why and how the Iranians did not care at all for the Kuwaiti refugees or the region's stability in general. This was a whole new side of the war to me and kept me very interested in those last pages. Her shitty marriage ended and she left Iran for good, moving to France to study and work on her art more.

 

There is a deep connection with Iranian culture and heritage as well as with family. In particular, there was a constant sharing of history and future hopes stemming from her grandmother and mother to Marjane. None of Marjane's family talked down to her or made her feel stupid for asking questions about politics or culture. She knew martyrdom and political executions intimately because they happened to her family and friends. She is proud of her family and to call herself an Iranian, but does not blindly give loyalty to a government that she feels is evil.

 

I want a copy for my personal library now.

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review 2017-07-25 15:54
Review: The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan and Robert Venditti
The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two, The Son of Neptune: The Graphic Novel - Rick Riordan,Antoine Dode,Orpheus Collar,Robert Venditti

This was a graphic novel adaption of Riordan's popular series. I didn't have much interest in reading the series, but I needed a book about/use of mythology for Pop Sugar. So I figured the quickest way of knocking out the prompt was to go with the graphic novel adaption. I'm so glad I did; in graphic novel form I was very invested in the story, as it was all action a bit of political intrigue that I would not have picked up in novel form.

 

The artwork was technically beautiful and well done, but not emotionally drawing me in. It was the story itself that kept me turning the pages. Although this is a story of how Percy Jackson regains his memory (sssslllloooowwwlllyyy) and unite the seven, I was way more interested in Frank Zhang. OMG, I was so #teamFrank throughout my reading. Frank and his mom's memory. Frank and Ares/Mars father-son conversations. Frank and his Grandma. Frank and Hazel's friendship. Frank and Percy's working relationship. Frank was the clear winner of this story for me.

 

My library does have graphic novel #1 and #3, so I may decided to read those in the fall, mainly for more Frank.

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text 2017-07-24 23:05
#24in48 Read-a-thon Summer 2017 Wrap Up and COYER Update #2
The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two, The Son of Neptune: The Graphic Novel - Rick Riordan,Antoine Dode,Orpheus Collar,Robert Venditti
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
A Sultry Love Song (The Gentlemen of Queen City) - Kianna Alexander
The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom (Dreamspun Desires Book 14) - Kate McMurray
Killer Countdown (Man on a Mission) - Amelia Autin

First up, 24in48

 

Here are my answers to the closing survey:

1. How many books did you read? Pages? 2 graphic novels (The Son of Neptune and The Complete Persepolis) and one category romance (A Sultry Love Song) from start to finish. 31% of one category romance (TGTGCG).

 

Page wise I read 723 pages.


2. How many hours did you read? 12 hours over the two days, with the bulk being read on Saturday. After doing some math, it averages 60.25 pages per hour; now I can use that bit of datum to plan out future reading.


3. What do you think worked well in this read-a-thon?

The weather made it clear to all the family that going outside and doing something other than reading was a no-go. Thank you rainy England! Please stop raining now, kthanksbye. Also my food game was great this time around; I must order take away from my favorite kebab place for all read-a-thons.

 

Reading wise, what worked well was reading shorter books and in print (I read faster in print over e-books for some strange reason).

 

4. What do you think could be done to improve the readathon for next time?

I should maybe check in every two hours rather than every 3-4 hours, as I missed a bunch of participation challenges. To improve the read-a-thon in general, new challenges - I am tired of the "take a shelfie" and the "make a verse with book titles" challenges as every read-a-thon does those challenges.


5. Will you participate in a future 24in48 readathon? Yep, and it's on my calendar already.

*****************************************************************************************************

COYER update #2

Sunday: finished A Sultry Love Song by Kianna Alexander (started during 24in48). Started The Greek Tycoon's Green Card Groom by Kate McMurray.

 

Monday: finished TGTGCG. Next up is Killer Countdown by Amelia Autin, which I will start reading tomorrow. Reviews are quickly piling up, so I may spend some time tomorrow writing up those.

 

 

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