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review SPOILER ALERT! 2020-02-28 06:46
Review: Follow Me by Kathleen Barber
Follow Me - Kathleen Barber

 ***I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Netgalley and Gallery Books!***

 

Up until the last 30 pages or so, I would have rated this book as a solid four star. I struggled really hard to decide if I could keep it at a four star but I just can’t. That ending was bad. Really bad. The kind of bad that gets worse the longer I think about it. Almost Stephen King, giant spider bad. Okay, I’m being facetious now, it wasn’t giant spider bad.

T

his was a very compelling book. It starts with an introduction on how the author stumbled onto Reddit threads about installing remote access onto someone’s computer so that you can cyber stalk them without them knowing about it. That’s super creepy. And so this gave the author an idea and away we go. The complexities and problems presented by social media are interesting fodder for the fiction world. It’s unknown enough that you can really delve into the dark part of the human psyche and prey on the terror that lurks there. But it’s commonplace enough that millions of people seem to be okay with sharing every moment of their existence to an online audience that feels like a group of friends, but is in reality a bunch of strangers. It’s an interesting dilemma and this book told it well.

 

I did not particularly like Audrey, it is my one big complaint apart from the ending. She wasn’t very likeable. She is narcissistic, naive, self absorbed and more than a little bit stupid. The entire book is about her almost never doing her actual job and occasionally posting on Instagram. But most of the time she complains to her friends about her endless list of woes and vehemently denies that she has a stalker problem. She doesn’t come around to the idea that someone is stalking her until she literally catches someone peeping in her window. And even then she dismisses it rather quickly as just a creep, doesn’t bother to call the police, and goes about her day. She was a moron and I hoped (a little bit) that her stalker might end up killing her because she was too stupid to continue living. She proved this to me in the ending, which I will get to in a minute.

The stalker’s narrative is okay. It’s creepy at times but mostly just really pathetic. This guy comes across as so socially awkward that he might vomit on a woman’s shoes if she spoke to him. Once things started ramping up, however, I enjoyed his narrative quite a bit.

 

Cat, Audrey’s best friend, is quite possibly the most interesting character. She seems like an intelligent woman who doesn’t easily dismiss that Audrey might have a stalker and urges her to protect herself. None of her suggestions are listened to, but she tried. She is horrified when Audrey begins dating a childhood acquaintance of hers, Max, who knows a secret about Cat that she desperately doesn’t want Audrey to know. I got the sense throughout the book that Cat was in love with Audrey. Although that was never confirmed, I still think there’s some validity to the theory. Why else would you put up with someone so woefully stupid and self absorbed? And not just put up with her but idolize her too.

 

Now we come to the ending. So I am going to make this plain. This is a huge SPOILER. A giant SPOILER. If you do not wish to be SPOILED!!!! then please read no further.

 

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Seriously, really big SPOILER ahead, last warning to jump ship!

 

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So, the ending. They teased me a bit with who the stalker was, but I figured that Max HAD to be a red herring. The author was hitting me over the head with him being a suspect way too hard. And it just simply makes no sense. The idea that he ramped up the stalking to scare Audrey into coming to live with him for protection makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that you then continue to escalate the stalking behavior until she is frightened of you. WTF? You wanted her to be with you, check. You wanted her to live with you, check. You wanted her to be afraid enough to turn to you, check. And then you continue? Why?

 

Then we have a whole scenario where Audrey gets hurt in a confrontation with Max and Cat comes into the room and believes Audrey is dead. She has a conversation with Max about how he can’t help her and needs to leave, he says that at least he isn’t like Cat. And we get a whole long story about how Cat tried to kill someone at summer camp, and he’ll tell everyone about it if she doesn’t help Audrey. That part wasn’t surprising, the author had been leading us to that for most of the book. But then Cat decides that she needs to kill Max to prevent this. In the process she discovers that Audrey is still alive, and then proceeds to think “Oh no, did she hear us talking about camp? Well, I guess I better kill her.”

 

Wait, hold on, what? None of this makes sense. All of a sudden two rational people are acting like psychotic killers? Where on earth did any of this come from? And isn’t it a bit too coincidental that the person stalking Audrey for eight years just so happens to know her college best friend, and just so happens to know said best friend’s deep dark secret? Nope. There were so many better options available and this one was terribly executed.

Then we get to my favorite part. Audrey recovers and we flash forward to her moving into a new apartment and having a conversation with the old college boyfriend, Nick. Cat is apparently in prison, rightfully so. Max isn’t in prison, just a restraining order. Despite the fact that he was stalking you for eight years, broke into your friend’s house, got into an angry confrontation with you in which you proceeded to almost die. I don’t know that sounds like an arrest-able offense to me. And here is where Audrey proved to me that she is, in fact, too stupid to live. Behold this exchange with Nick:

 

“Be fair,” I said softly, “Max isn’t a psychopath. He’s…well, he’s not wired right, that’s for sure, but he’s not a psychopath. It’s not like he was going to hurt me.”

 

“You don’t know that. Just because he didn’t hurt you doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have.”

“He never would have hurt me.” I said with certainty, “He’s not violent. And he loved me too much.” (Page 284 of the ebook version)

 

Well, isn’t that just so romantic!! He loves her so much that he almost got you killed. But he’s not violent. Isn’t that so sweet! This is worse than all the romanticizing of domestic violence that was prevalent in Young Adult fiction for a while. He literally stalked you for eight years. He took thousands of pictures of you without your knowledge. He broke into your apartment and watched you sleep (Hey Edward! We see you!). He watched you in your apartment for weeks at a time. He intentionally terrified you so that you would move in with him. He demanded that you continue being with him and terrified you so much that you tried to run out of the house and fell down a flight of stairs. But no, you’re right Audrey, he loves you too much to be violent. She’s one of those people who writes love letters to Charlie Manson because “well he never killed anyone”.

 

So that’s it. A great book, with so much potential to be amazing and the ending completely ruined it for me.

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review 2020-02-25 04:42
The Alchemist (audiobook) by Paulo Coelho, narrated by Jeremy Irons
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd boy who's on his way to see a girl he once met and fell a little in love with. Before he gets there, however, some stuff happens that I can only vaguely recall. Something about a fortune teller, who tells him that a dream he had about the pyramids in Egypt will lead him to a great treasure. A mysterious man who turns out to be something more convinces Santiago to abandon his ordinary and comfortable life as a shepherd and begin his quest - the pursuit of his Personal Legend.

I'm making a conscious effort to get through more books in my collection that I figure I'll probably be okay with either selling or donating when I'm done. This seemed like a good candidate - I picked up a copy ages ago at a conference, and while it seemed vaguely interesting, it wasn't the sort of thing I'd normally read. When I saw that my library owned the audiobook version via Overdrive, I figured that'd be the perfect way to get through it. I'd listen to it, use my paper copy to help me with any name spellings or other details in my review, and then offload it.

Audiobook was probably the best way to go. Jeremy Irons' voice was wonderful to listen to and made the four hours of listening time almost bearable.

That said, I hated this book. Hated it. Had it actually been a fantasy adventure about a boy on a quest for treasure, I might have liked it a bit more, but in reality this was more a self-help book in story form.

Its basic message was this: if you listen to your heart, follow your dreams, and go after your goals with everything you've got, there's nothing you can't accomplish. The entire universe will assist you. The only thing that can stop you is fear of failure.

It's a cruel message. It says "If you're not managing to succeed at this thing you're trying so hard to accomplish, it means that the problem is you. You're somehow still not doing enough, not trying enough, not wanting it enough." It's such an insidious lie, and it made me angry that Coelho had chosen to build an entire world around it.

Santiago really could accomplish anything he wanted to, just by putting his whole heart and soul into his quest. Any other boy might have starved to death after selling all his sheep to go after a treasure he'd seen in a dream, but not Santiago. Every experience he had and every person he met was just another lesson or sign that would lead him to his ultimate goal, his Personal Legend. Thieves left him penniless and theoretically hungry, but he was never truly in danger of starving as long as he kept his goal in sight. At one point he was beaten, but the pain might as well have been a light bruising for all the attention Santiago paid it. Everything always came back to his stupid Personal Legend, the only thing that seemed to leave any sort of lasting impact on him, except maybe Fatima. But more on Fatima later.

In the real world, a person can put everything they have into their goal, pursue their dreams with all their heart and soul, do everything right...and still not succeed. This is not an indicator that they didn't work hard enough or want their dream badly enough, as The Alchemist would suggest. Maybe they didn't have a rich friend or family member who could give them an interest-free loan. Maybe they got sick and suddenly had their health and medical bills to worry about. Maybe they had a family to support and didn't want to be complete jerks towards their loved ones (families didn't seem to factor into this whole Personal Legend thing at all - basically, if they really loved you and supported you, they'd take care of themselves until you accomplished your Personal Legend).

Which brings me back to Fatima, the young woman of the desert Santiago fell in love with (no relation to the young woman he was initially kind of in love with but utterly forgot later on). Her Personal Legend, if I remember correctly, was Santiago. All she had to do was wait in the desert for him. That's it. Why did Santiago's Personal Legend involve a multi-year quest that he had to actively participate in, while Fatima's just required her to exist and be pretty and unmarried? And then, when Santiago left to pursue his Personal Legend, she had to sit and patiently wait for him to come back, however long that might take. They had only spoken a few times and definitely weren't married, so she was basically just waiting for a near-stranger. It was Coelho's version of a soulmate romance. Man, I wish I'd been reading an actual soulmate romance novel rather than this book.

All in all, I don't recommend this, not even with Jeremy Irons' wonderful narration.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2019-11-29 07:38
Follow-on Biologics Market Growth Rate Forecast and Key Development Factors

The global follow-on biologics market is set to grow at a specified CAGR during the forecast period. Biologic medicines constitute significance in terms of patient illnesses. The medicines are grown out of living cells under laboratory conditions since these are hard to manufacture, complex and large. The production of biologics is also referred as production of reference products as it involves inheritance of complex biologics and exclusive details of manufacturing process.

 

Follow-on biologics market is driven by medical advances in treatment for serious illnesses followed by rise in patient care and surge in medicine manufacture. In addition, surging demands for low cost biological drugs is stimulating the market growth. Drug manufacturers are now producing generic biopharmaceuticals, however, pricing remains a big concern. Increase in costs of healthcare treatment, expensive form of drugs and rise in population is likely to stimulate the market growth. However, uncertainties on outcome effect by consumption of biologics and stringent regulations is more likely to disturb the market growth during the forecast period.

 

Get Sample Copy of this Report @

https://www.millioninsights.com/industry-reports/follow-on-biologics-market/request-sample

 

Follow-on biologics market is segmented by type comprising insulin, growth hormones, interferons, fertility hormones, fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Application segment for the market comprises blood disorders, chronic and autoimmune diseases and oncology diseases.

 

Geographical segmentation for the market spans North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa. North America and Europe market is likely to grow at a higher rate due to rise in medical infrastructure and increase in activities pertaining to patient care. Increase in R&D activities for production of biosimilar & biologics drugs.

 

The key players profiled in the follow-on biologics market report are Allergan, Allozyne, Alteogen, Alvogen, Amarey Novamedical, AstaZeneca, Bionovis, Biosidus, Bioton, CCM Duopharma, CCL Pharmaceuticals, Celltrion, Chong Kun Dang, Centocor Ortho Biotech, CinnaGen, Compass Biotechnologies, Ranbaxy, Syngene Pharmaceutical, Takeda, Zenotech, Zheijan Huahai Pharmaceutical.

 

Browse Related Category Market Reports @
https://www.millioninsights.com/industry/biotechnology

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review 2019-07-27 04:12
Follow the Drinking Gourd: Come Along the Underground Railroad by Wim Coleman
Follow the Drinking Gourd: Come Along the Underground Railroad - Courtney Martin,Wim Coleman,Pat Perrin

For my thoughts, go to Bridget's Book Rambles

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text 2019-07-15 19:31
Follow the Drinking Gourd - Jeanette Winter

Author:Jeanette Winter

Awards:N/A

Synopsis:Peg-Leg Joe is a former sailor who travels the South teaching a song to slaves. The lyrics of the song contain a hidden message with directions to safety with the Underground Railroad.  The story follows the journey of one family as they follow the gourd, or Big Dipper, to freedom. 

Grade:Pre-K - 2

Genre:Historical Fiction

Citation:Goodreads

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