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review 2017-03-19 16:39
Review: Maestra by L.S. Hilton
Maestra - Hilton L. Root

Quick review for a truly abhorrent reading experience (for me). This was a random library read I picked up, and suffice to say I won't be reading the sequel to this.

*sighs* I'll put it like this: it's a bad sign when you have nothing good to say about a book upon finishing it, but it's even worse when the experience is so bad that you have little to nothing to say about it. Usually when I'm writing reviews about a book that I dislike, I have a plethora of things to say that was wrong with the experience and I'll spell it all out. In this case? Everything with this just didn't work for me. I spent most of the book either bored or just shaking my head at Judith. This book wasn't well written, the sex scenes lacked connectivity (mostly they were for shock value, but I wasn't shocked or impressed at all), the so called crime aspects were fleeting and disconnected. The constant weight shaming, brand dropping, among other things just threw me even further off the plight. I saw where the book was going with Judith's character, but again I couldn't care enough to be able to connect and follow her experience with true investment. I think if there were one thing about the novel that stood out to me on a "good" note was the establishment of the scenic art world and there were tendrils of high society life that could've developed into something interesting, but it didn't immerse me as the book went onward.

If L.S. Hilton writes another series, I might see if I can give her writing another go just to see if it connects better with me, but my journey with this series ends here. I just can't bring myself to care and I'm coming out of this novel more frustrated that I wasted my time with it than taking it for the experience of the story itself.

Overall score: 1/5 stars.

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review 2016-05-10 18:55
La mamma maestra. - Come si diventa un intellettuale (prima e seconda parte). - La tradotta per Mosca. - Un occhio a Cracovia. - BIANCIARDI Luciano -

Sono stati compagni di scuola, Adele Guidi e Atide Bianciardi. Alle normali, dove si diventa maestri. La sua mamma è nata maestra. Il suo papà non è nato nulla. Nel ’14 lei inizia a fare la maestra; lui, suo padre dal nome assurdo, va militare di leva senza aver finito gli studi. Lei maestra da sempre e per sempre. Lui portiere di calcio, fattorino, segretario, cassiere di banca.
Quella di Luciano non è una famiglia povera. Povera è la società italiana. Così Alide lustra la bicicletta, i suoi vestiti smessi vengono recuperati e rifatti per il figlio, le scarpe si risuolano cinque, sei volte. Quando Atide compra un atlante geografico a rate, Adele lo accusa di voler la fine della famiglia.
Luciano, da bambino non ama sua madre. Se a scuola è maestra, a casa lo è di più. Perfezionista, pretende dagli alunni come dal figlio. E il figlio della maestra Bianciardi all’età di sei anni inizia a recitare la parte del primo della classe. Al ginnasio il voto massimo è otto. Ovvio che mamma Adele pretende sempre l’otto. E poi è questione d’orgoglio familiare. I due figli della zia Isa sono più o meno coetanei di Luciano. Bravissimi a scuola. Non solo, suonano uno il pianoforte, l’altro il violoncello. Allora avanti, violoncello e media dell’otto per non sfigurare con la zia.
Se a scuola prende otto va bene. Sette un po’ meno. Sei, è un ceffone assicurato. Arrivato da scuola, dopo aver mangiato inizia a studiare fino all’ora di cena. Ogni giorno così fino al sabato, giorno in cui gli è concesso d’uscire.
Se tarda, mamma Adele lo va a scovare armata di un robusto mestolo di legno nascosto sotto il cappotto. Ogni sabato.
La domenica va alla partita con papà Alide. Al ritorno sua madre gli presenta il conto per le ore di svago. Libro e studiare.
Prende sempre otto, il Luciano. Qualche volta persino nove.
Poi la guerra, la Seconda, chiama il giovane. E la madre opprimente e protettiva nulla può. Al ritorno il ragazzo, ragazzo non lo è più. S’è fatto uomo. Deciso a liberarsi dalla catena materna sposa una coetanea che la madre contesta. Figurarsi, ha persino avuto un fidanzato prima di lui. Alla nascita dei nipoti la mamma si fa meno maestra e più nonna. Gli equilibri cambiano.
E si finisce per volersi bene.

Un Bianciardino fa bene. Un po’ d’amara ironia. Un po’ di nostalgia.

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review 2016-05-09 18:06
Abstieg in Dekadenz und Gewalt
Maestra: Roman - L.S. Hilton,Wibke Kuhn

"Maestra" wird oft verglichen mit so unterschiedlichen Büchern wie "Gone Girl" von Gillian Flynn, "Fifty Shades of Grey" von E.L. James oder der "Millennium"-Trilogie von Stieg Larsson, und dabei polarisiert das Buch ungemein. Man muss sich nur die internationale Resonanz anschauen: für jede begeisterte 5-Sterne-Bewertung gibt es mindestens einen totalen Verriss. Das hat mich sehr neugierig gemacht! Ich wollte mir meine eigene Meinung bilden - und das habe ich jetzt auch getan.

 

Um das Buch mal kurz und knapp zusammenzufassen:

 

Eine junge Frau aus der untersten Unterschicht erkämpft sich eine gute Schulbildung und einen Universitätsabschluss, wird als Kunstexpertin in einem renommierten Auktionshaus angestellt, vom korrupten Chef rausgeschmissen, weil der, von ihr ungestört, Geldwäsche per Kunstbetrug durchziehen will, beginnt daraufhin eine Gratwanderung zwischen Escort-Service und Nobel-Prostitution und bringt schließlich aus Versehen jemanden um. Danach brennen alle Sicherungen durch und sie beginnt einen gnadenlosen (und gelegentlich blutigen) Feldzug, um sich die Macht, das Geld und das Ansehen zu holen, die ihr ihrer Meinung nach zustehen.

 

Diese Grundidee finde ich immer noch grandios, sehr originell und mit enormem Spannungspotential. Die Umsetzung hat mich nicht vollends überzeugt, aber einfallsreich ist das Ganze auf jeden Fall.

 

Originell ist auch die Protagonistin, denn die passt in keine Schublade. Mit den (Anti-)Heldinnen von Flynn und Larsson hat Judith gemein, dass sie sich aggressiv nimmt, was sie will, und sich nicht im Geringsten daran anpasst, was die Gesellschaft von einer Frau erwartet. Sex ist ihr sehr wichtig, hat für sie aber fast nie etwas mit Liebe zu tun; sie geht regelmäßig auf luxuriöse Swingerparties und mag es dabei so hart, dass "Fifty Shades of Grey" sich dagegen liest wie eine schnulzige Liebesgeschichte aus BILD der Frau.

 

Ich liebe starke Frauen in der Literatur, aber Judith konnte ich dennoch nicht lieben. Zwar habe ich ihre Selbstdisziplin, ihr Durchhaltevermögen und ihre Entschlossenheit bewundert, konnte auch nachvollziehen, dass sie sich ein besseres Leben aufbauen will als das, aus dem sie kommt - aber davon abgesehen fand ich sie oberflächlich, egozentrisch und skrupellos. Manchmal kam sie mir geradezu fremdartig vor, fast so, als sei sie gar kein Mensch, sondern ein seltsames Wesen, das sich als Mensch verkleidet.

 

Sie hat immer im Blick, was etwas kostet und wie viel Prestige es bringt. Das ganze Buch über werden unzählige Markennamen aufgelistet, und Judith zeigt mehr Emotionen beim Kauf einer Designertasche als beim Ermorden eines Menschen. Sie setzt Menschen ein wie Schachfiguren, und opfert sie auch eiskalt, wenn es sein muss. Manchmal sogar, wenn es nicht hätte sein müssen... Auch sich selbst gegenüber ist sie unnachgiebig: wenn sie, um ihre Ziele zu erreichen, Sex mit einem schmierigen, widerlichen alten Mann haben muss, vor dem sie sich ekelt, dann tut sie das und schluckt auch brav.

 

Interessant fand ich sie auf jeden Fall, aber sie weckte in mir beinahe ausschließlich negative Emotionen - da liegt für mich der Unterschied zu den Protagonistinnen von Gillian Flynn, denn mit denen konnte ich immer auf verquere Art mitfühlen, irgendwie.

 

Ein paar Worte zu den Erotikszenen: diese sind zahlreich, werden ausführlich und detailliert beschrieben und überschreiten in meinen Augen oft die Grenze zwischen erotisch und ordinär. Zum Teil habe ich mich sogar ein wenig geekelt (wie z.B. bei besagter Szene mit dem widerlichen Sugardaddy). Die Swingerparties, die Judith besucht, strahlen zwar eine Art eleganter und dabei üppiger Dekadenz aus, aber auch hier gab es Szenen, die mich eher abgestoßen haben - das ist jedoch sicher auch eine Frage der persönlichen Präferenz.

 

Manchmal hätte ich das Buch beinahe endgültig zugeklappt, aber obwohl ich Judith nicht mochte, obwohl ich die Erotikszenen meist unerotisch fand, wollte ich dennoch wissen, wie es weitergeht. Man schaut Judith dabei zu, wie sie sich Schicht für Schicht ihrer Menschlichkeit entledigt, und das ist auf verstörende Art und Weise spannend. Ich zögere, das Buch unterhaltsam zu nennen - es war für mich mehr eine widerwillige Sogwirkung.

 

Der Schreibstil hat mir an sich ganz gut gefallen, nur die vielen Erwähnungen von Markennamen und die immer gleichen Bezeichnungen für Geschlechtsorgane fand ich ermüdend. In vielen Szenen habe ich mir aber gedacht, dass das Buch vom Schreibstil her viel mehr Potential hat, als es tatsächlich ausnutzt...

 

Fazit:
Eine wütende, skrupellose Frau, die von ihrem Chef rausgeschmissen wurde, um sein Verbrechen zu vertuschen, holt sich mit Gewalt, was ihr zusteht - und nebenher hat sie jede Menge Sex. Was auch gelegentlich mit Gewalt zu tun hat.

 

Ich fand die Hauptfigur interessant, aber zutiefst unsympathisch, die Erotikszenen explizit, aber oft überhaupt nicht erotisch... (Was natürlich Geschmacksache ist.) Trotzdem kann ich erahnen, warum manche Leser von diesem Buch so fasziniert sind; es hat etwas an sich, was einen nicht mehr loslässt - die Frage ist nur, ob man am Schluss das Gefühl hat, dass es sich gelohnt hat.

Leider konnte mich das Buch schlussendlich nicht begeistern.

Source: mikkaliest.blogspot.de/2016/05/maestra-von-ls-hilton.html
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review 2016-04-22 00:00
Maestra
Maestra - Hilton L. Root DNF at 45%

I tried, I really tried, but this was a snoozefest of EPIC proportions...

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review 2016-04-18 23:17
Maestra
Maestra - Hilton L. Root
ISBN:  9780399184260
Publisher:  Penguin
Publication Date: 4/19/2016 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 2 Stars 

A special thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

L. S. Hilton's MAESTRA --What is not to love about art theft, a female fatale, a psychological mystery crime thriller? Right? Unfortunately, not what I received. Had higher expectations.

Many of you may not agree with my review. To each their own opinion; however, rather than glossing over, my honest thoughts.

The set up was great. The first part of the book, was entertaining and grabbed my attention. You see Judith as a young woman, trying hard to excel and make her way in the art world. She wants to do the right thing. She is a lowly receptionist at a well-known art house. She wants respect, and has debt. She lacks money. She is poor. She is vulnerable. She desires to gain entry into the upper echelon of the art world and society.

Through an old acquaintance, she persuades Judith to take on a second job, working as a hostess at a champagne bar. Here she learns how to manipulate. No salary, only tips. So the goal is to get the guys to buy expensive champagne. However, James, old pasty, overweight gross man does not drink, but buys the champagne and has money. She collects money and builds her savings account. No sex at first. All is good. She is able to buy some nice clothes. (give me hot, good looks, not pasty, and fat)

At the art house, things go south. She stumbles upon a conspiracy-- art fraud with misdeeds of her boss, Rupert – she is fired along with her accomplice.

OK, now at this point, you can see the need for female vigilante – Justice. Was really excited to see how this would unfold. However, not in the way I had envisioned. A let down. No real plotting to seek revenge. Just a lot of killing and sex.

When she goes on the trip with her friend and James, an accident-- not really her fault. She runs to escape. Even the next guy Steve .. I am still hooked. However, thereafter when getting to the next guy, and brutal murders – it is downhill from here until the end.

Judith does a complete 180. Out of nowhere. She is now a cold-blooded killer. If you are going to create a sociopath, lead up to it. Create flash backs of her childhood, what made her turn into a killer. Thoughts, processes. Nothing here. It is supposed to be the journey which carries the reader.

Also what makes a good thriller, is the chase. No real investigation. No forensics. No imagination. No one really much on her trail. Just a trashy girl who has crazy sex, gets high, and goes on to kill more people for no real reason. Where is the hook? You keep reading hoping you will get to the good part, which never comes.

Judith/Judy (is a 50-60s name); not a name for a 30 something. Does not fit the character. When I think of a femme fatale ---I think of a good classic noir film.

A femme fatale, a mysterious and seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers, often leading them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations. She is an archetype of literature and art.

Her ability to entrance and hypnotize her victim with a spell was in the earliest stories seen as being literally supernatural; hence, the femme fatale today is still often described as having a power akin to an enchantress, seductress, vampire, witch, or demon, having power over men. A woman with both intelligence, glamour, sophisticated, and sex appeal that uses these skills to manipulate poor helpless men into doing what she wants. May cause death. Not trashy.

Per Urban Dictionary: Trashy (women) are characterized by a hollow arrogance born out of insecurity and stupidity. Because deep down they know they are trashy they overcompensate in numerous of ways, and #1, to satisfy their own needs. They are insecure and tend to follow the latest trends, no matter how stupid, for a need to be accepted.

When I think of the Greatest Femme Fatales in Classic Film Noir, women were either of two types (or archetypes) - dutiful, reliable, trustworthy and loving women; or femme fatales - mysterious, duplicitous, subversive, double-crossing, gorgeous, unloving, predatory, tough-sweet, unreliable, irresponsible, manipulative and desperate women. Usually, the male protagonist in film noir wished to elude his mysterious past, and had to choose what path to take (or have the fateful choice made for him).

"Invariably, the choice would be an overly ambitious one, to follow the dangerous but desirable wishes of these dames. The goadings of the traitorous, self-destructive femme fatale would lead the struggling, disillusioned, and doomed hero into committing murder or some other crime of passion coupled with twisted love."

Instead of: Sexy, seductive, glamorous, provocative, erotic, passion, alluring, tasteful, enticing . .

You get: Trailer trash, x-rated porn, gross, disgusting, revolting, distasteful, obnoxious, poor taste

With this being said, when I think of art, culture, wealth, European travel—I think “Class”. With the heavy usage in the book, of designer fashion names, wealth, ritzy hotels, yachts, and name dropping---it wipes out all the glamour and class---when replaced with bad trashy sex scenes.

Does not add up. Falls apart midway. Even though I am not an erotic fan, I do enjoy good psychological thrillers and have no issues with graphic sex scenes if done in taste. (otherwise, why bother). For example: A. R. Torre (Deanna Madden Series). She can get down and dirty with her sex scenes, but they are tastefully done, and her protagonist is someone you sympathize with, due to her horrific abusive past. So when she is evil, you still root for her.

By 50% into the book, I wanted Judith to be caught--put me out of my misery. I was not even rooting for her. Disliked her, in fact. As far as the next two installments – no desire to read further. However, maybe I should skip to the final installment to see if we learn of Judith’s past, and she gets away with her murders. By the end at 3 am, was glad it was over. Unrealistic, To be continued. Don't think so.

I had pre-ordered the audiobook; however, cancelled. Not up for a repeat performance. poor character development. In my opinion, does not compare to The Talented Mr. Ripley nor Gone Girl, nor contains ingredients I look for in a a good psychological crime thriller. 
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!Maestra/cmoa/56fe129c0cf2d8d402fd77a4
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