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review 2020-01-18 12:17
Audio Review: Present Perfect (Perfect #1) by Alison G. Bailey (Author), Appelusa McGlynn (Narrator)
Present Perfect (Perfect #1) - Alison G. Bailey





Innovative. Inspiring. Ironic. Past Perfect sets itself apart from the standard romance format. Bailey dares to be different by writing a love song that puts the duet to the test with some thought provoking solo work. Noah and Amanda put all of their cards on the table, even the not so pretty ones. The dialogue is the melody that calls to all hearts and McGlynn takes the lyrics of this heartbreaking song to new heights. Her delivery will pull at the strings of your soul.

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review 2019-12-12 05:05
Save the Date by Monica Murphy
Save The Date (Dating #1) - Monica Murphy

Caroline Abbott works at a high end stationary store that sells a lot of wedding-related stuff, like save the date cards, wedding invitations, and thank you cards. She's used to dealing with bridezillas, so her newest customer, Tiffany, doesn't throw her much, but the identity of Tiffany's fiance does. It turns out that Tiffany is getting married to Alex Wilder, Caroline's first crush. The last time they saw each other was when she was 12 and he was 14. He gave her her first kiss and then disappeared.

It's a shock to see Alex again, especially like this. When she was a kid, Caroline never realized that Alex came from a wealthy family. It's a bit strange that he's getting married so quickly, only a month or so after meeting Tiffany, and he doesn't even seem to like her much. But Caroline tries to be professional, do her job, and not ogle Alex, who is definitely no longer the gawky boy he used to be. Then she accidentally discovers that Tiffany is cheating on Alex, and things become even more complicated.

This was one of my Book Bonanza purchases. I tend to be drawn to illustrated covers, and this looked cute and fun. I went into this expecting a zany romantic comedy in which Caroline and Alex would awkwardly try to reconnect while dodging Tiffany's probably over-the-top attempts at getting revenge against Caroline and/or Alex. Instead, the writing style made me question what genre I was dealing with - Caroline's first person present tense POV felt more chick lit than romantic comedy, to me - and Caroline and Alex's early flirtation, prior to Caroline discovering that Alex was one of her newest customers, had me wondering whether it was actually going to be Alex who cheated first rather than Tiffany.

While Caroline and Alex didn't kiss or even spend much time together until after Alex learned about Tiffany's cheating and ended their engagement, it still felt uncomfortably like Tiffany was set up for failure. She was horrible and annoying and, even so, I felt a bit sorry for her. From the sounds of things, after the initial shine of their relationship wore off, Alex basically stopped paying much attention to Tiffany, spent most of his time at work, and procrastinated on getting her an engagement ring. Yeah, Tiffany was a gold digger who rushed him into a wedding, but he let himself be rushed. It was like he just couldn't be bothered to break up with her and was going to marry her because it was easier than telling her "no."

Which, honestly, didn't make him an appealing romantic hero. The parts of the book from his POV came across as wooden and boring, and my impression of him only worsened after he and Caroline decided to succumb to their attraction to each other. I think readers were supposed to see them as a better, more solid couple than Alex and Tiffany, but instead I saw Caroline as Alex's Tiffany 2.0. Just like with Tiffany, their relationship started off with lots of bouts of fantastic sex (fantastic for them - I considered the first person present tense sex scenes to be gross and stilted). When things got tough just before the end of the book, though, and Alex had to make a decision between trusting and supporting Caroline or doubting her, he chose the latter. It emphasized that these two characters still didn't really know or trust each other, and the happy ending, after Alex did a bit of groveling, felt hollow.

Also, this was a very small part of the book, but I still wanted to bring it up: I didn't like the way the author used Alex's younger brother, James. Alex had two siblings, his sister Meredith and his younger brother James. James was autistic. It was mentioned that he worked as an accountant in the family business and seemed to be pretty good at it. At one point, Alex thought about how James had told him that he felt like their parents were babying him (he still lived with their parents, and it sounded like they were very protective). Alex privately agreed with James...but also expected that James would one day move in with either Meredith or him, so I didn't really see how he was any different from their parents, not even entertaining the idea that James might want more independence. It also bugged me that, while Meredith got a small speaking role in the book, James didn't. For someone who was supposedly so important to Alex, he had almost no presence.

Caroline had a group of friends who all gave off "future heroine in this series" vibes. However, none of them particularly drew me in, and after the issues I had with Save the Date, I have no intention of trying another one of this author's books.


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

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review 2019-12-07 18:55
The Gift of Christmas Present,Melody Carlson
The Gift of Christmas Present - Melody Carlson

I enjoyed this Christmas story and I bought this at a library book sale. I voluntarily chose to review this. I've given it a 4.5* rating. This was not a conventional Christmas celebration. It deals with adoption and other issues. Sometimes we just need to put the issues in other hands.

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review 2019-11-30 02:31
Not their best work
Modern Europe, 1789-Present - Patricia Clavin,Asa Briggs

History textbooks are almost always group efforts, as specialists are tapped to present what represents the current thinking about their respective eras of specialization. So for a publisher seeking to produce a textbook on 19th and 20th century Europe, Asa Briggs and Patricia Clavin are good choices. A leading historian of 19th century Britain, Briggs was a pioneer of social history, while Patricia Clavin has written excellent monographs on interwar Europe that adopt a continent-wide perspective. And their resulting work offers a good overview of European history form the French Revolution to the start of the 21st century. Yet their very prominence makes the book's flaws so frustrating.


Foremost among them is the text's dominant focus on political history. This is especially surprising for a book co-written by Briggs, given his many excellent works on Victorian society. Yet chapter after chapter concentrates on relating political developments, often with little in the way of analysis explaining their significance. While other aspects of European history are addressed, these parts are crammed into chapters which cover important issues in a spare sentence or two.


This in itself limits the book's value, yet it is further undermined by the sheer sloppiness of the text. For a book in its second edition there are a surprisingly large number of basic factual errors, from the misattribution of a famous malapropism to stating that OPEC stands for "Organisation of Oil Producing Countries." A third edition could address this problem, but the lack of one points to the increasing datedness of a book purporting to survey European history to the "present." The authors' final chapters are practically begging for revision in light of the events that have taken place since then, yet with each passing year the prospects for one dim further.


Taken in combination, these flaws limit what is otherwise a useful survey of two centuries of European history. While it can still be read by profitably for anyone seeking to understand the political evolution of Europe from absolutism to the early years of the EU, readers desiring a more comprehensive account of modern Europe would be better off looking elsewhere.

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url 2019-10-10 18:34
Fruktbuketten - Skicka ätbara Buketter Och Dekorationer

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