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review 2018-01-17 05:08
L'appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home
L'Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home - David Lebovitz

If you are secretly (or not so secretly) fascinated by the sight of car wrecks (where no one is injured, of course), you might really like this book.

 

That's not why I bought it, or course; I thought I'd be reading a breezy memoir about moving to Paris and buying a fabulous, though a tad run down, old apartment and the joys of renovating it.  I imagined living vicariously through the author as he haunted the flea markets and found fabulous old doors, lamps, hardware, crockery, etc.  Sure, the title says "disasters", too, but they're probably the run of the mill disasters everyone faces when building/renovating, right?  Someone painted the kitchen the color meant for the baths, or switched the hot and cold taps. 

 

Not even close.  In fact, looking at the title, I'm not at all sure where the "delights" come into play.  Maybe book 2?  Because I gotta tell you, after reading this, I have a lot more sympathy for people who burn the house down for the insurance money.  I also have a new appreciation for just how much worse Australian real estate could be.  I've always tried to be positive or, at least tactful, about my current home country, but I've never held back on how bent I believe their real estate industry is, particularly Melbourne's (I'm not wrong either: Victoria has been cited numerous times for fraudulent real estate practices; not that it slows anybody down).  But boy howdy, Paris makes it clear Aussies are in the minor leagues.

 

But the buying dramas (did you know you need a medical examination to get a home loan?) were just the amuse bouche; the real nightmare, the one you can't stop reading because it's like a train that just keeps on wrecking itself, a metal snowball gaining mass and spreading destruction, is the renovations.  There. are. no. words.

 

This is where I stop to give a heartfelt thanks to my Daddy, an electrical engineer, and for the grace of god that I was born curious.  Foreign country or not (and you can't discount how big a difference that makes - even if the foreign country speaks your language), I'm fortunate that I know enough about electricity, plumbing, and (very) basic building construction to suspect when something isn't right, or safe.  Lebovitz was not so blessed and neither was his partner, although he was at least Parisian, and so was able to bridge the language - and sometimes the cultural - gaps, as well as throw well timed fits of temper.  But even so, what happens, what they end up with... nope.  Still no words.  I cannot imagine what I'd have done in his shoes, but it probably would have been neither legal or sane.  

 

It ends well enough, but, though he doesn't give any real figures, one has to assume he had a shit ton of money somewhere because by my rough reckoning, that renovation cost him more than 3 times the original budget.

 

Throughout this nightmare, he does paint a vivid and gorgeous picture of Paris markets and food, both of which, from what I read here, are better experienced as a tourist.  And most of the chapters end with a recipe; some easy, and some for the experienced baker.  At some point in the future I'll be giving his Swedish meatball recipe a shot.

 

And Swedish meatballs leads me to this final thought:  there is nothing on this earth that would ever compel me to stand in line for 4 1/2 freaking hours in Ikea.  Nothing.  Not if the kitchen cabinets were made of solid mahogany and gilded in sold gold.  Omg...4.5 hours in Ikea...

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review 2018-01-17 00:11
Scrum by P.D. Singer Review (Free Short Story)
Scrum - P.D. Singer

One look at the Canadian rugby star now playing on his local team turns Robin Isley into a super-fan. He’ll attend practices, cheer every game, and bleed with every tackle, but he won’t come close enough to get an autograph or say a few words.

Yves Dubois' team runs faster, passes better, and scrums harder when Robin watches: they’ve been winning steadily. Yves has a blinding smile for Robin after practices, but never stops to talk.

Robin needs to know if Yves’ grin is only joy in the game. Finding out will be Robin’s birthday milestone, but first he needs to give himself the gift of courage.

 

Review

 

Super short, super fun, free hit of rugby romance.

A good time was had by all.

 

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review 2018-01-16 00:02
Crashing the Net (Crashing, #1) by Samantha Wayland Review
Crashing the Net - Samantha Wayland

Mike comes to Moncton wanting nothing more than to play for the Ice Cats and finally live on his own terms. He’s broke, bruised, and covered from head to toe in cheap lube, but he isn’t going to let that stop him. All he needs is a place to live and some time to figure out how to reconcile who he really is with who everyone wants him to be.

Dumping three gallons of lube on the new kid is just another day at the office for Alexei. He knows exactly who he is: a goalie on the ice, a prankster in the locker room, and a man who knows better than to share his private life with anyone. He’s let people in before and it’s taught him that if he can’t have what he really wants, it’s better to be alone. 

Despite their apparent differences, an unlikely friendship grows. Neither of them could ever have guessed how much they really have in common.

 

Review

 

Fun with hockey! This is an enjoyable sports romance. It needs a bit of stuff resolved to make it really good but I love the hockey details and I liked the characters. 

An easy read.

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review 2018-01-14 22:36
The Little Book of Lykke
The Little Book of Lykke: Secrets of the World's Happiest People - Meik Wiking

I'd read Wiking's Little Book of Hygge last year, and absolutely loved it; it was one of those right time/right books moments, and I took away a lot of good suggestions.  So when this book's publication was announced, I kept an eye out for it. 

 

In some ways, The Little Book of Lykke is a more interesting one; it's focused heavily on the research behind happiness both on an individual and cultural level.  There are more studies cited, more graphs, more statistics, and case studies from around the globe about how people and communities have come together to create a better atmosphere for themselves and others.  Wiking includes practical tips for the reader, but I don't think that's the book's strength; I think it serves as food for thought about the larger idea of what makes individuals and communities really happy, and the downstream benefits of being happy.

 

My only niggle against the book is that the last chapter ends a bit preachy.  This is not entirely the author's fault, as the last chapter, entitled kindness was the chapter with the least amount of available stats and studies, so it was almost entirely anecdotal.  It's really difficult to talk about being kind to others without sounding preachy, I get that.  But it did leave the book ending weaker than it started by just a smidgen.  Overall, a good book for inspiring introspection and an inspiring one in terms of new ideas.

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review 2018-01-14 19:29
BTW I Love You by Nico Jaye Review
BTW I Love You - Nico Jaye

When Aidan logs onto the Internet one night during winter break, he hardly expects to meet tall, dark, and handsome Jake - let alone discover over the course of their chats and emails that Jake may actually be...well...pretty much perfect. However, with Jake studying abroad 8,000 miles away, Aidan soon finds himself struggling with the intense feelings that he's developed for a man he's never actually met.

With an ocean between them and all of the doubts and questions that come with the distance, will their relationship ever find wings? And when they finally meet in person, can their online romance become an IRL happily ever after?

 

Review

 

This is a sweet New Adult romance about two heroes that meet on line. 

It is kind and sexy and about believing in the connection between two people.
 
 

 

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