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review 2018-05-08 04:46
365 Style: A Girl-to-Girl Guide to Keep You On-Track and On-Trend Every Day of the Year - Nicky Hilton


The book's primary focus was about fashion, but was a lot more too. I was surprised that despite her celebrity status and jet-set lifestyle she is frugal. Her fashion philosophy (reflected in the title) for not only everyday of the year (365) but also 3-6-5 which is thus: 
For each season:
The 3 main reasons you dress (and for each individual, it would vary, so the book is adaptable to each reader), such as work, school, dates (or whatever-- fill in the blanks)
5 main essential pieces (that are classics, never trendy and if cared for, can go from year to year), so that when combined with various accessories, etc can make a large variety of outfits
6 main accessories

She advises to spend good money on the quality classics as they will typically last longer and if a person wants to buy something trendy, spend as little on it as possible so that when it is no longer chic, not much money is lost. I was a bit surprised to find she goes to thrift shops, picks up something older that appeals to her and restyles or repairs it. It was also surprising to find she goes to great lengths to have shoes repaired, even her cheap ones. She said many of her shoes (even the ones she bought cheaply) have been resoled many times until they literally fall apart. She also advises for everyone to develop their own style, not imitate what one saw a star, ad or mannequin wear because the sense will be conveyed while wearing it that it is not truly you. She advises pick up quality pieces and combine them in a way that is uniquely your own.

There were many family pictures in the book, of her growing up, with her siblings and parents. Her parents are one of the few Hollywood couples to have stuck together, and she credited her father with instilling into them a good work ethic. Ms. Hilton said that she was expected to get a job young, which she did at 15, and anything they wanted, they had to work and save for-- nothing was given to them, which goes against the lifestyle most people envision the the children born and raised in the spotlight to have. 

She ends the book in a refreshing way, taking the book beyond fashion: 
"It takes more than glitz and glamour on the outside to really have 'style' and shine like a Harry Winston diamond. So what exactly does that mean? To me, being 'stylish' means being the kind of person I am proud to look at in the mirror every night when I wash the makeup off my face. It means feeling truly confident that the way I treat people throughout the day is the way I want to be treated. It means expressing gratitude for all that I have been lucky enough to have while giving as much as I can to help those who care less fortunate. And, above all else, being stylish means being 100 percent authentic to the person I am at heart, and knowing that person is worthy, loving and capable of having a positive influence on the world around her."

I received this book in a giveaway... thank you!

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text 2018-05-07 23:44
I guess I'm doing it all wrong.
Firefly - Linda Hilton
Firefly - Stef Ann Holm

My historical romance Firefly was published by Pageant Books in 1988.  For a variety of reasons, it had lousy distribution and only sold about 50,000 copies.  I didn't get rich off it by any means.


However, unbeknownst to me, it seemed to catch readers' attention.  Affaire de Coeur magazine awarded it their Best Historical Romance of the Year, and I assure you I didn't buy that award!


In 1990, Leisure Books published another historical romance titled Firefly, by Stef Ann Holm.


No big deal.  Titles can't be copyrighted, and so it's no big deal.  (For example, there was a Harlequin Romance titled The Roots of Heaven, even though this is a very, very famous novel by Romain Gary.)


In the summer of 1994, I attended the  Romance Writers of America conference in New York City, held at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.  The first evening of the conference, I had been invited to share dinner with my new editor at Pocket Books, Caroline Tolley. (See also this post about my feelings re Tolley).  Tolley told me in advance that we would be joined by another author she had recently signed, Stef Ann Holm.


I knew of Holm's Firefly, and in fact I had a copy.  So I brought it with me to the conference and to dinner that night.


Upon the three of us getting together in the hotel lobby before going to dinner, Stef Ann confessed she was nervous about meeting me because she was afraid I'd be angry over the title of her book.  After all, mine had been published two years before hers.  She feared I would accuse her of copying my title


What was my reaction?


I laughed.


I assured her I was absolutely not angry in the least, since titles can't be copyrighted anyway, and it's no big deal.  Then I handed her my copy of her book for an autograph, and I may even have given her a copy of mine.




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review 2018-03-28 04:48
A disappointing addition to a great series
A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People?: England, 1783-1846 - Boyd Hilton

All too many surveys of history start with soaring language that stresses how the period being examined was one of great change. Refreshingly, Boyd Hilton’s contribution to the New Oxford History of England series does not do this, focusing instead on the continuities of English history from the late eighteenth to the mid nineteenth century. While acknowledging the dramatic demographic growth of this period and the economic transformations it spawned, he argues that the political revolutions of the late eighteenth century fueled an embrace of neo‑conservative ideologies that proved remarkably enduring throughout the period.


Hilton's argument shapes not just his interpretation of these decades, but his presentation of it as well. Arguing that a "politicization of society" took place during this period, he provides more political narrative than previous authors in the series have for their volumes. These chapters provide an insightful analysis of the period, particularly with regards to the political ideologies of the period. He supplements this with a superb bibliography at the end, one that offers a stimulating analysis of the historiography on the period.


Yet judged by the standard of the series, the book is something of a disappointment. The predominance of the political narratives crowds out other aspects of the era, most notably the dramatic technological changes so critical to it; these are usually addressed only in their consequences, and incompletely even then. A more persistent problem, however, is the author's presentation of historical arguments in the text. Often Hilton presents the varying interpretations of a topic or a personage with little sense as to his own opinion on the issue. While some may value the opportunity to make their own assessments, his effort at even‑handedness deprives the reader of the sort of informed judgments that have made the series such a valuable tool for understanding English history.


These flaws do not detract from the book’s many strengths so much as contrast them in stark relief.  Boyd’s sections on politics and (especially) political ideology make this book an essential study of the period.  It is only when compared to the other volumes in the New Oxford History of England series that its deficiencies become apparent.

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review 2018-02-28 06:55
Found Things by Marilyn Hilton
Found Things - Marilyn Hilton

One morning, River Rose Byrne wakes up talking like nobody else, and she doesn’t know why. Maybe it’s because her beloved older brother, Theron, has abruptly vanished. Maybe it’s because that bully Daniel Bunch won’t leave her alone. Or maybe it has everything to do with the eerily familiar house that her mind explores when she’s asleep, and the mysterious woman who lives there. River has to puzzle through these mysteries on her own until she makes a strange new friend named Meadow Lark. But when she brings Meadow Lark home and her mother reacts in a way that takes River by surprise, River is more lost than before. Now all that’s left for her to do is make wish after wish—and keep her eyes open for a miracle.




For quite awhile now, River Rose Byrne has been wondering about and searching for her missing brother, Theron. In the meantime, she befriends mysterious, somewhat odd Meadow Lark Frankenfield, "her name was one of the only pretty things about her." Author Marilyn Hilton's description of Meadow Lark includes "a popped out eye" and "a strange way of walking".


"People make fun of my eye," she say, "but I can see better than some of them." 


As the story progresses, there are quiet character traits of River that the reader comes to see as a result (side effect?) of the trauma of Theron's disappearance, one being her taking up the habit of intentionally filling her speech with poor grammar. To help heal River's spirit, Meadow Lark teaches her the trick of writing down wishes and sending them down the river near the town library. Sidenote: I loved the imagery of a library set up next to a river!


One of the fun elements that keeps this story moving is the sense of mystery Hilton writes around the character of Meadow Lark, all the questions around her origin story. Is there some true magic to her? Why does River's mother respond so powerfully to her? 


One of River wishes is for the school bully to disappear. When said bully ends up in the hospital, River is surprised... maybe gives a glance in Meadow Lark's direction, but then reminds herself that she doesn't believe in things like magic / angels / miracles, so it's just a wild coincidence! Right? 


As River's emotions regarding her missing brother continue to escalate, overflowing to the point of affecting other aspects of her life, Meadow Lark is there to teach her the importance of maintaining hope & faith -- even just a grain of it -- in life. 


There was such a wonderful sense of childhood magic and whimsy infused into this book! There's a dreamlike quality that runs through the whole thing, but also quite a bit of depth when it comes to incorporated themes. Quite a feat for a debut novel! If you are a fanatic for beautiful language and all things lyrical, I highly encourage you to seek out Found Things and give it go! 

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text 2018-02-27 18:48
The grand project, or, a method to my madness
Half Heaven, Half Heartache: Discovering the Transformative Potential in Women's Popular Fiction - Linda Hilton

As intrigued as I am by the Kill Your Darlings game, I decided last night that I have to discipline myself and Just Say No.  There's just not enough room in my life for it right now.  I'll have to play along vicariously through everyone else.


As I wrote in a previous posts here and here about Pamela Regis's A Natural History of the Romance Novel, I was giving serious consideration to picking up my 2000 undergrad honors thesis and expanding it the way I had planned to then.  That "serious consideration" took a step in an even more serious direction yesterday, when I began assembling some of my old notes and subsequent text expansions.  I've already purchased a couple more reference books, and started re-reading some of the material already on hand.


My personal life has also presented some new challenges.  My financial situation is a tad  more precarious than it has been, and I am at an age where that is not easily remedied. I am not destitute, at least not yet; nor am I without resources.  My last big art show is coming up in early April, and much of my energy until then will be directed toward that.  Then comes the long, hot summer, when supplemental income is less reliable and expenses can mount significantly.


Another of those resources is this project, if I can gather my discipline and determination and Just. Do. It.  I should have been doing it for the past several years, but there's no changing that.


The romance genre has expanded since 2000, and I know I have a great deal of work ahead of me.  I guess I'd better get to work.




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