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review 2018-04-11 19:12
Pretty Face by Lucy Parker - My Thoughts
Pretty Face - Lucy V. Parker

I loved it.  Pure and simple. I loved it like I loved the first book in the series.  It's fun and it's sexy and it's honestly a joy to read, just in the way it's crafted. 

Back when I was a tween, hell, I guess I'd have been about 10 or 11 (1966/1967 to put it in time frame), I started reading the Penny Parrish books by Janet Lambert.  Sweet, teenage type romances that followed Army kid Penny through her teenage to her adult years.  And Penny became a famous Broadway actress who ended up marrying her director and it was MARVELOUS!  Then, a few years later, I read one of my first Harlequin Romances - Kay Thorpe's Curtain Call (1971) and absolutely loved it.  So much that other than my Janet Dailey collection, it's the only Harlequin of hundreds that I've read that I have left on my bookshelves.  Lucy Parker's books bring me back to that time and remind me of the dreams I had as a girl, to be a stage actress (didn't happen *LOL*, but I still love the dream).  I feel the same way reading Lucy's books as I did back then and I like the feeling - it's a good one.

The characters are terrific and never perfect, even the secondary or thirderary.  *LOL*  I know, I made up that word, it should be tertiary, I think.  Anyway, Lucy's characters, while they are bigger than life, which, of course, they are or who'd want to read about them, they are also relatable with flaws and not so nice traits at times.  I especially liked the way Margo, the hero's ex, was portrayed.  Her emotions and motivations when dealing with Lily and Luc are real and understandable.  She's not a martyr, nor is she a bitch.  I liked that!

Another important thing that I loved was that the author navigated the pitfalls of the power imbalance between the big director and the young actress very well.  It never felt icky or anywhere near #metoo-ish.  Luc was always respectful and mindful of the power imbalances as was Lily and they spoke about them.  So, kudos to Lucy!  That could have gone very wrong.

One thing that Lucy weaves throughout her stories is a sense of fun and witty humour.  I love it!  I've even laughed out loud while reading.  Which brings me back to the girl I once was.  Back in the day, my best friend, Cat, and I used to devour romances - Harlequins, Heyers, Silhouettes... we'd sit and read, different books, and read out delightful passages to each other and then... we'd trade books!  Had we had Lucy Parker's books back in the day, there would be a ton of passages read out loud and then, I'm pretty sure we'd make sure we each had our own copies.  :) 

Oh, read these books!  Sexy and fun and I just love them!

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review 2018-04-01 20:56
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! - Al Stewart,Claire Davis

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he's known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now - finally - the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie's science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie's mum hasn't been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?

 

Review

 

This is a sweet coming age romance. Life is hard but it is easier when you are loved. 

This novella shows that perfect in a friends to lovers trope that charms. 

A quick read.

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review 2018-03-06 16:57
A book that will enthrall fans of Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, and people interested in XIX century true crime.
The Face of a Monster: America's Frankenstein - Patricia Earnest Suter

I was provided an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Most of us have wondered more than once about the nature of fiction and the, sometimes, thin line separating reality from fiction. Although we assume that, on most occasions, fiction imitates reality, sometimes fiction can inspire reality (for better or for worse) and sometimes reality seems to imitate fiction (even if it is just a matter of perception). And although Slavoj Žižek and postmodernism might come to mind, none of those matters are new.

Suter’s non-fiction book combines three topics that are worthy of entire books (and some have been written about at length): Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Mary’s own life, and Anton Probst’s life and the murders he committed. Each chapter of the book alternates between the chronological (up to a point) stories of Shelley and Probst, and comparisons of the developments and events in the “life” (fictional, but nonetheless important) of Frankenstein’s creature. The author uses quotes and close- text-analysis of Frankenstein, and also interprets the text based on the biography of Shelley, to explain how the creature ended up becoming a monster. Although the novel is an early example of science-fiction/horror, many of the subjects it touched belong in literature at large. Nature versus nurture (is the creature bad because of the parts used to make him, or because nobody shows him care and affection?), science versus morality and religion (can knowledge be its own justification, or should there be something of a higher order limiting experiments), prejudice, mob mentality, revenge, loneliness and isolation…

Shelley’s life, marked by tragedy from the very beginning (her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, died when Mary was only eleven days old) was dominated by men who never returned her affection and who were happy to blame her for any disasters that happened. She was part of a fascinating group, but, being a woman, she was never acknowledged and did not truly belong in the same circle, and it seems an example of poetic justice that her book has survived, and even overtaken in fame, the works of those men that seemed so important at the time (Lord Byron, Percy B. Shelley…).

I was familiar with Frankenstein and with the life of Mary Shelley and her mother (although I am not an expert) but had not heard about Probst. The author has done extensive research on the subject and provides detailed information about the life of the murderer, and, perhaps more interesting still, his trial and what happened after. That part of the book is invaluable to anybody interested in the development of crime detection in late XIX century America (his crimes took place in Philadelphia, although he was born in Germany), the nature of trials at the time, the history of the prison service, executions, the role of the press and the nature of true crime publications, and also in the state of medical science in that era and the popular experiments and demonstrations that abounded (anatomical dissections, phrenology, galvanism were all the rage, and using the bodies of those who had been punished with the death penalty for experiments was quite common). Human curiosity has always been spurred by the macabre, and then, as much as now, the spectacle of a being that seemed to have gone beyond the bounds of normal behaviour enthralled the public. People stole mementos from the scene of the crime, queued to see the bodies of the victims, and later to see parts of the murderer that were being exhibited. Some things seem to change little.

Each part of the book is well researched and well written (some of the events are mentioned more than once to elaborate a point but justifiably so) and its overall argument is a compelling one, although perhaps not one that will attract all readers. There are indeed parallels and curious similarities in the cases, although for some this might be due to the skill of the writer and might not be evident to somebody looking at Probst’s case in isolation. Even then, this does not diminish from the expertise of the author or from the engrossing topics she has chosen. This is a book that makes its readers think about fame, literature, creativity, family, imaginary and true monsters, crime, victims, and the way we talk and write about crime and criminals. Then and now.

I’d recommend this book to readers interested in Frankenstein and Mary Shelley’s work and life, also to people interested in true crime, in particular, XIX century crime in the US. As a writer, I thought this book would be of great interest to writers researching crime enforcement and serial killers in XIX century America, emigration, and also the social history of the time. And if we feel complacent when we read about the behaviour of the experts and the common people when confronted with Probst and his murders, remember to look around you and you’ll see things haven’t changed that much.

The author also provides extensive notes at the end of the book, where she cites all her sources.

 

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review 2018-01-07 15:53
Review of "A Little Change of Face" by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
A Little Change of Face - Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers* 


This was so hit and miss with me, I need to review it.  I was drawn to this library wishlist-one because of interesting premise (think reverse Pygmalion), an author I've been meaning to try, and wanting a funny read.  

 

Well, I like the author's writing and the humor.  The premise somehow turned just plain mean.

 

It was a funny book.

 

Mixed feelings about the main character.  Every time I thought about DNF'ing the book, she'd do or say something I could relate to or sympathize -- none of which carried through to the end.  I did not like or connect with her or any of the characters.  I expected shallow and vain from the book description, but I expected it to be hilarious and lesson-worthy instead of the woe-is-me-I-can-get-any-guy-and-will-even-if-I-don't-want-him.  Mean-spirited on the part of the default best friend and main character often mean-spirited to others.  Still, she had her moments so did not DNF. 

 

I think the premise went too far.  If main character had decided to drab herself up to see if guy was attracted to her or her looks, that would have worked better for me than the frenemy harassing her into it from jealousy then pushing it too far.  By too far, I mean changing name, job and residence -- who would do that?  At least MC fought back when frenemy pushed for more like binding breasts and hinted at actual surgeries (that saved a DNF right there).

 

Everyone was at times judgmental, selfish, jealous, petty, mean, arrogant, blame others good qualities for why others notice their bad qualities ...

 

Overall all, didn't really like most of it (mostly for characters) but would read more by the author.  Ending seemed a bit rushed and could have been more satisfying without some cheating, hypocrisy and deus ex machina.  

 

Really close to the end there was a rape-apologist bit that would have made for an automatic DNF had it come anywhere earlier.  It totally soured the book for me despite earlier laugh-out-loud moments.  

That was MC's reaction to a preteen with boobs budding early that main character had given a makeover for a first school dance.  Preteen was actually attacked and her shirt ripped by date wanting to grope boobs.  Returns to MCs house for help/comfort(?) and nothing really.  The  buck-up-it-happens, minimal reaction or lack of advice bad enough.  Inner monologue of MC actually thought it was such a wonderful thing this happened to the girl so young because it was a lesson learned about how boys will be boys and the girl needed to get used to it.  

(spoiler show)

See?  If you read the spoiler you know a big reason I disliked the main character.  I don't think she learned or grew at all from the experience other than dumping the frenemy.


*©2018.  All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on  Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.  

 

Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:

★★★★★ = All Time Favorite 
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average.   Okay. 
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking.  (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews.  Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)

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review 2017-11-29 23:33
My Review of A Face in the Crowd
A Face in the Crowd - Stephen King,Stewart O'Nan

A Face in the Crowd was written by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan. Dean Evers is a widower who sits alone and watches baseball, then notices familiar faces in the crowd. Faces of people who should be dead.

A great collaboration that was quick and fun to read. What can I say? It's Stephen King!

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